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Mohammed Garba, the president of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, said he was aware of the attack, but he did not believe the shooting involved politics because other travelers were violently robbed along the same highway at the same time. However, the newspaper said Mr. Kawonise recently received unspecified threats over the Internet.

Security agencies and thugs routinely harass and beat journalists in Nigeria. Eighteen journalists have been killed in the country since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports