Mutiny: Nigerian military confirms PREMIUM TIMES’ exclusive report on soldiers’ court-martial

The soldiers are accused of mutiny.

The Nigerian military on Friday confirmed a PREMIUM TIMES exclusive report that the army was court-martialling some soldiers for mutiny in Maimalari cantonment in Maiduguri.

Speaking at a joint press conference by the National Information Centre, Onyema Nwachukwu, who represented the Director of Defence Information, Chris Olukolade, said the court-martial was ongoing.

Mr. Nwachukwu, a colonel, would not confirm the number of soldiers facing trial.

“It is true that there are court martial’s going on in the Nigerian army but I cannot confirm the number of those facing trial. However, at the proper time and as need arises, we will inundate you with the conclusion of the process,” Mr. Nwachukwu said.

PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported how 18 soldiers were undergoing General Court-Martial for firing at the utility vehicle of the General Commanding Officer 7 Division in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The Army charged 11 of the 18 soldiers with criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny, among others.

The soldiers face a six-count charge of committing mutiny, criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny, attempted murder, disobedience to particular orders, insubordinate behaviour contrary to and punishable under the law, and false accusation.

Military sources said the then General Officer Commanding, GOC, of the newly-created 7 Division, Ahmadu Mohammed, a Major General, was targeted by soldiers who blamed him for the deaths of their colleagues.

The attack in Maimalari cantonment, on May 14, humiliated the Nigerian military at a time the force came under international spotlight over the abduction of nearly 300 school girls in Chibok by the extremist Boko Haram sect.

Also, refuting fear of the police being sidelined in ongoing counter terrorism operation, Mr. Nwachukwu said the operation was a joint one.

He also noted that the military handed over to the police once an area under attack was stabilised.

“What we do is this: once we have successfully carried out an operation, the military moves along and allow the police to continue with the operation. That is why we are able to sustain the tempo of the operation so it is not out of place to find that the military is involved in this warfare.

“Once we stabilise, we relinquish those areas for the police to take over.  So, it is a joint operation and not that the police is sidelined,” he said.

Also speaking at the press briefing, the coordinator of the Information Centre,NIC, Mike Omeri, said following continuing mop up operations by soldiers inside the Darazo Forest in Bauchi State, which was stormed by troops last weekend, 80 general purpose machine guns and 10 rifles have for far been found and evacuated.

“The men and women apprehended in the forest have continued to give useful information on their activities in the forest as well as terrorists activities in different parts of the federation. The mopping up operation continues,” he said.

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