ABUJA, Nigeria — A court-martial panel on Thursday began hearing charges against 97 soldiers, including 16 officers, accused of mutiny, assault, cowardice and refusing to fight against the country’s northeastern uprising by Islamic insurgents.

The mass trial comes two weeks after 12 soldiers were sentenced to death by firing squad for mutiny and attempted murder of their commander.

Troops regularly have complained that they are outgunned by insurgents of the group Boko Haram, that they are not paid in full and that they are abandoned on the battlefield without enough ammunition or food.

Endemic corruption in Nigeria means millions of dollars goes missing from the budget to fight the five-year-old Islamic uprising that has killed thousands.

Some soldiers have said that some of their colleagues collude with the insurgents, giving them weapons and information.

The Nigerian military on Thursday at the Defence Headquarters Garrison inaugurated a nine-man General Court-Martial to try 97 military personnel.

The personnel are being charged for different offences ranging from mutiny, assault and misconduct to tampering with military property.

Of the 97 soldiers, 66 have been accused of committing mutiny, a crime punishable under the military law by death sentence.

Highly placed military sources told PREMIUM TIMES that among the personnel set to face the General Court Martial include some senior officers: two colonels and some lieutenant colonels.

A list obtained by PREMIUM TIMES which contained names of 60 soldiers, said the soldiers conspired to commit mutiny triable by a General Court Martial.

The soldiers attached to the 7 Division, Nigerian Army in Maiduguri include two Corporals, Cpl, nine Lance Corporals, LCpl and 49 Private soldiers, court martialed on a two-count charge of mutiny and conspiracy to commit the offence.

The charge sheet said the soldiers conspired to commit mutiny against the authorities of the 7 Division on August 4, at the Mulai Primary School camp, opposite AIT Maiduguri, Borno State.

It also said the soldiers refused to join 111 Special Forces battalion troops led by E. A. Aladeniyi, a colonel, to the Maimalari Barracks for an operation.

“In that you at the Mulai Primary School Camp opposite AIT Maiduguri on or about 4 August 14, refused to join 111 SF Bn troops led by Col EA Aladeniyi (N/9695) to Maimalari Barracks in connection with an operation,” the charge sheet read.

The charges came two weeks after a military court sentenced 12 soldiers to death for shooting at a vehicle conveying their commander in Maiduguri.

The sentences await the approval of the army chief.

Five other soldiers were discharged and acquitted while one was sentenced to 28 years jail term with hard labour.

The soldiers were also accused of insurrection and firing at the utility vehicle of their general officer commanding, GOC of the same 7 Division, Ahmadu Mohammed.

Many Nigerians have condemned the death sentences and have demanded they be suspended.

A previous statement by the Army spokesperson, Olajide Laleye, said Thursday’s court martial was in line with efforts by the army to clear all cases relating to violation of the Armed Forces Act.

Mr. Laleye, a brigadier general, said the general court martial would try officers over ongoing military operations in the northeast Nigeria.

Below is a list of 60 of the 97 soldiers facing mutiny and other charges.

1. Cpl Andrew Ogolekwu

2. Cpl Saturday Efa

3. LCpl Henry Shuaibu

4. LCpl James Maifada

5. LCpl Ndubuisi Sabestine

6. LCpl Dauda Dalhatu

7. LCpl Kasega Aoso

8. LCpl Mallam Jacob

9. LCpl Nwonu Friday

10. LCpl Joshua Friday

11. LCpl Anthony Simeon

12. Pte Olayode Oluwasegun

13. Pte Tijjani Jimoh

14. Pte Kabiru Abubakar

15. Pte Mamuda Sywasan

16. Pte James Emmanuel

17. Pte Mukaila Musa

18. Pte Magaji Ahmadu

19. Pte Amao Bukola

20. Pte Wuyep John

21. Pte Oti Kelvin

22. Pte Ameh Mathew

23. Pte Olaitan Joseph

24. Pte Kulukulu Endurance

25. Pte Usman Isaac

26. Pte Ocheje Williams

27. Pte Adila Dangana

28. Pte Sudan Hannania

29. Pte Sunday Godwin

30. Pte Datti Hassan

31. Pte Abubakar Garba

32. Pte Joseph Dauda

33. Pte Chiemela Azubuike

34. Pte Abubakar Mohammed

35. Pte Anagu Mark

36. Pte Danbaba Francis

37. Pte Oton Asuabiat

38. Pte Nwachukwu Udo

39. Pte Ibrahim Saliu

40. Pte Abafe Sylvester

41. Pte Eze Isaac

42. Pte Abubakar Mohammed

43. Pte Samuel Michael

44. Pte Ishaya Musa

45. Pte Ogai Douglas

46. Pte Atim Peter

47. Pte Hemas Okpe

48. Pte Ahunaya Temple

49. Pte Eyaknse Uwah

50. Pte Ilesanmi S.

51. Pte Solomon Ishaku

52. Pte Nasiru Zubairu

53. Pte Audu Daniel

54. Pte Buaz Lucky

55. Pte Muhammed Abubakar

56. Pte Anas Awalu

57. Pte Babangida Jamilu

58. Pte Hashimu Ibrahim

59. Pte Mohammed Suleiman

60. Pte Shehu Sa’adu

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect the new information at our disposal that the number of soldiers facing the Court Martial are actually 97 and not 60 as earlier reported.


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