MAIDUGURI,  (AFP) – A retired Nigerian general, Mohammed Shuwa, who was a key figure in the 1960s civil war, was on Friday shot dead by unknown gunmen at his home in the restive northeastern city of Maiduguri, the military said.

Mohammed Shuwa

“Four men initially thought to be his visitors… entered his house and opened fire on the general and his guests.

One of the guests died on the spot while the general died on the way” to the hospital, said Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa.

In an interview at his home in May, Shuwa told AFP that he could potentially be targetted by Boko Haram Islamists who have carried out scores of attacks in the city, which is considered their home base.

It was not clear who killed the general, but the shooting resembled those previously carried out by the Islamists who have repeatedly targetted prominent local figures.

Residents and a morgue official said soldiers killed dozens of young men late Thursday during operations in four Maiduguri neighbourhoods, including Shuwa’s home area of Gwange.

Boko Haram has previously carried out targetted killings following military raids.

Shuwa, 79, was a top adviser to Yakubu Gowon, the former military head of state who led Nigeria during the 1967-70 Biafra civil war that left more than one million dead, including many from starvation.

He also served as a senior leader in the 1975-76 junta of Murtala Mohammed.

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