Nigeria found 54 soldiers, aged between 21 and 25, guilty of mutiny and sentenced them to death because they refused to fight against radical Islamic group Boko Haram. The court acquitted five others.
The court claimed the soldiers refused “to help recapture three towns” Boko Haram captured in August, according to BBC. Soldiers said the government did not provide enough weapons and ammunition to fight the terrorist group. Human rights lawyer Femi Falana said Nigeria only sentenced the men to death because “they embarrassed Nigeria’s military by demanding weapons” and the soldiers “were justified in not going on what would have been a suicidal mission.” Falana also claims the government sent the men into battle with little to no training while corrupt officers stole the money meant for soldiers and weapons.
In September, Nigeria sentenced twelve men to death “for mutiny and attempted murder of the commanding officer.” The Associated Press reported that these soldiers claim the officer was responsible for deaths of many soldiers after he sent them on a road Boko Haram “frequently attacked.”
Wives of soldiers complained about weapons shortages in the past. In August, some wives surrounded a base in Maiduguri to stop deployment of their husbands to Gwoza in northwest Borno State.
“No weapons for our husbands, no trip to Gwoza or any volatile place. We are tired of burying our loved ones,” said Thabita John according to Business Recorder.
A soldier agreed with the women.
“Our wives are speaking our minds: we are grossly under-equipped,” said one soldier, who did not want to be named. “Our guns are weak and armoured carriers not serviceable.”