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.
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