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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

54 Nigerian Soldiers will be Shot for Mutiny

A Nigerian court martial has sentenced 54 soldiers to death for refusing to fight Boko Haram Islamist militants. This will be the most casualties the army has ever recorded. 

The soldiers appeared before a court martial in Abuja
The soldiers, who were found guilty of mutiny, were accused of refusing to help recapture three towns that had been seized by Boko Haram in August.

A lawyer for the soldiers said the 54 would face a firing squad while five others were acquitted.

Troops have complained that they are not being given enough weapons and ammunition to fight Boko Haram.

I feel for the soldiers. They were between a rock and a hard place. They were likely going to die if they challenged Boko Haram with inferior fire-power, and they were going to face court-martial if they didn't.

There is so much corruption in Nigeria, in business, government and military brass. Last spring, $6 billion dollars disappeared and  no-one is looking for it. What does that tell you? Imagine the weapons they could have bought for the military with just 1% of that money.

What makes this story so much worse is that the officers condemning the soldiers to death know that they are poorly armed, know why they are poorly armed, and still sentenced them to death. Life is pretty cheap in Nigeria.

Nobody even talks about the $6 billion anymore. The kidnapping of the Chibok girls buried the corruption story. Funny coincidence that!

Nigerian soldiers
The group has been waging an insurgency since 2009 and is seeking to create an Islamist state in north-eastern Nigeria.

More than 2,000 people have died in attacks blamed on Boko Haram so far this year and thousands more have been displaced by the fighting.

The court martial began in October and was conducted behind closed doors. Military officials were not available for comment afterwards.

Defence lawyer Femi Falana said the soldiers were all accused of "conspiring to commit mutiny against the authorities of 7 Division, Nigerian Army".

All the soldiers had denied the charges and the sentence is subject to approval by senior officers.

In a similar case in September, 12 soldiers were sentenced to death for mutiny and the attempted murder of a commanding officer in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri.