Nigerian military to court-martial 118 more soldiers

Recapture of Mubi Town
FILE PHOTO: Nigerian Soldiers

The Nigerian military is set to court martial at least 100 more soldiers for a series of offences related to its fight against the terror group, Boko Haram, military sources told PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday.

Officials said 118 soldiers have been transported from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, to face charges in Abuja, a week after 54 soldiers were sentenced to death for refusing to fight Boko Haram.

It is not clear when the troops will be arraigned before a Military Court, but our sources said unlike their colleagues who were convicted last Wednesday, the soldiers awaiting trial are not accused of mutiny.

Army spokesperson, Olajide Laleye, said he was unaware of the development.

Sources told PREMIUM TIMES that the soldiers are accused of relatively minor charges including loss or misplacement of rifles during operations against Boko Haram.

The allegations follow repeated reports of troops fleeing Boko Haram fighters and abandoning their weapons for the militants in the Borno and Adamawa States.

Boko Haram militants have flaunted arms they claimed were seized from government forces in several videos.

The military trials are seen as an attempt to instil discipline in a force that has struggled to contain the rampaging insurgents.

The 54 soldiers who sentenced to death belonged to the 111 Special Forces battalion attached to the 7 division of the army in Maiduguri.

They are to die by firing squad, the military court ruled last week.

The soldiers were accused of disobeying a direct order from superior officers to take part in an operation aimed at dislodging Boko Haram terrorists from Delwa, Bulabulin and Damboa in Borno State.

The soldiers said they refused to take part in the operation because the Army did not provide them with the required combat and support equipment needed for such operations.

Our sources said the convicted soldiers have been moved to Lagos to await appeal, or pardon or execution.

Also, in September, 12 soldiers were sentenced to death by firing squad for shooting at a car conveying their commanding officer, Ahmed Mohammed, a Major General.

The attack occurred May 14 at the army’s 7 Division, Maimalari Barracks in Maiduguri, headed at the time by Mr. Mohammed.

Others were also sentenced to life in jail for criminal conspiracy and attempt to commit murder.

The soldiers revolted after some of their colleagues were ambushed and killed by Boko Haram extremists, an attack they blamed their commander for.

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