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Maiduguri airport mutiny: Army captain, 70 others detained for trial

…Army moves suspects to 2 locations
…Why troops defied COAS’ order
…Soldiers’ action unacceptable — Buratai
…Trial of Boko Haram suspects, good progress for justice sector — AI

By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

ABUJA— Angered by the mutiny by officers and men of Nigerian Army at Maiduguri Airport two weeks ago, the military high command has arrested and detained a captain and no fewer than 70 others for the embarrassing action, which is against military rules of engagement.

Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, with AK47 rifle, aims at a target during shooting competition

This is even as Amnesty International, yesterday, commended the Federal Government over the trial of suspected Boko Haram terrorists, describing the ongoing trial as “good progress for the justice sector.”

The captain (names withheld) led others who refused to be redeployed to Gamboru Ngala, a border town in Borno State with Niger Republic, which is known as the stronghold of Boko Haram insurgents.

The arrest and detention of the suspects, according to competent military sources, followed the order by Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai, that the suspects be arrested and subjected to severe military disciplinary action.

Vanguard learned that following the directive by the COAS, the suspects had since been moved into two unknown locations in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, with a view to subjecting them to a court martial.

Why troops defied COAS’ order

According to competent sources, the suspects rejected their posting to Gamboru Ngala because of war fatigue as most of them had been fighting Boko Haram insurgents for years without rotation.

It was gathered that the soldiers particularly loathed the idea of being sent to the warfront, given the fact that many of their colleagues who were earlier sent there were either killed or badly injured and their equipment taken away by the rampaging insurgents due to bad weather and insufficient platforms.

The sources said: “We became afraid when we discovered that no fewer than 30 soldiers who were sent there were killed within three days due to the heavy rainfall, which has further worsened the terrain mastered by the insurgents.

“We do not know why the Nigerian Army suddenly changed its mind and decided to deploy troops to the dreaded area after it had announced that it had pulled out of Gamboru, where Boko Haram appears be operating from after being pushed away from the Sambisa Forest.”

Soldiers’ action unacceptable— Buratai

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai, yesterday, described the action of the soldiers as strange and unacceptable.

Speaking for the first time since the incident in Maiduguri two weeks ago, Buratai said: “The incident at the Maiduguri airport that happened just about two weeks ago is an issue, which ordinarily is unimaginable, that disciplined troops, soldiers will behave in that way.

“But we have our procedures and this issue has been thoroughly investigated and those that have been found to be involved will face military justice. This sort of affairs will never be tolerated no matter the person or persons involved.”

Trial of Boko Haram suspects, good progress for justice sector — AI

Meanwhile, Amnesty International, AI, has commended the Federal Government over the trial of suspected Boko Haram terrorists, describing the ongoing trial as “good progress for the justice sector.”

The commendation was contained in a letter addressed to Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, by Osai Ojigho, Country Director, Amnesty International Nigeria.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement, yesterday, in Abuja said a copy of the letter was made available to his office by the AGF.

The minister said Amnesty International Nigeria said its delegates, who were invited to observe the proceedings at the third phase of the trial at Wawa Military Cantonment, Kainji, New Bussa, Niger State, from July 8 to July 11, “were treated with respect and decorum.”

Commenting on the letter, Malami said it was a “clear demonstration of the strategic role of the Federal Ministry of Justice and its commitment in adjudicating terrorism cases, implementing the Criminal Justice Act, and promoting the rule of law and human rights.”

 


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