A number of Nigerian soldiers who mutinied over an order to travel on a road frequently attacked by Boko Haram militants have been sentenced to death.
In a decision announced early Tuesday by Brig. Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, 12 soldiers were found guilty and five others innocent.
The sentence, to be carried out by the firing squad, was delivered for both mutiny and the servicemen’s attempted murder of their commanding officer. All the accused denied the charges.
A convoy of the soldiers had earlier been ordered to drive at night on a road from the northeastern town of Chibok, which is frequently attacked by militants. The soldiers initially refused, but eventually went along and were ambushed on May 13 by militants, an unknown number of them getting killed. Following the incident, the soldiers mutinied.
The Takfiri Boko Haram terrorist group has made huge gains in recent weeks, seizing a string of towns along the border with Cameroon.
The group has claimed responsibility for many deadly gun and bomb attacks in various parts of Nigeria since the beginning of its terrorist activities in 2009. Over 10,000 people have so far been killed in the assaults.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” says its goal is to overthrow the Nigerian government.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 650,000 Nigerians have fled their homes due to Boko Haram violence and are displaced inside the country, while thousands more have taken refuge in neighboring countries.