Abuja: A former General in the Nigerian Army, who played a major role in the civil war of the 1960s, was shot dead by gunmen suspected to be members of radical Islamic sect Boko Haram.
Major General Mamman Shuwa, a prominent former soldier of Nigeria was gunned down at his house in restive northern city of Maiduguri on Friday.
The country`s defence headquarters announced that Shuwa was killed while he was receiving a guest at his house and was about to leave for Friday prayers.
"One of the guests died on the spot while the General died on the way to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital," a statement from the defence headquarters said, blaming Boko Haram for the attack.
Shuwa, 70, lived in an area that was identified as dangerous by the military because of incessant clashes with militants.
He was an ally of former governor of the state, Ali Modu Sherrif, who has been placed under watch by police for his alleged sponsorship of the fundamentalist sect.
Shuwa 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.
Book Haram, which wants to establish an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria, recently offered to negotiate peace with the oil rich African country`s government.
A person who identified himself as Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulaziz who spoke on behalf of the sect said the group is ready to hold peace talks with the Nigerian government representatives in Saudi Arabia in order to end its insurgency which has claimed hundreds of lives.
He set a condition for negotiations, the involvement of former military dictator, General Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, the group is not actually challenging the Nigerian state but fighting against the high handedness with which the military has cracked down on its members.
Boko Haram wants to install an Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria though the region has a large number of Christians who are in the minority.
In the southern part of the country where the Christians are in majority, the sect has not been able to establish its presence.