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  • Nigerian special forces troops

    Nigerian special forces troops | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 December 2014

The special forces troops allegedly refused to retake some towns in northern Nigeria which are strongholds of the militant Islamist Boko Haram group.

Fifty-four soldiers of the Nigerian army could be executed in the upcoming months because they refused to fight the terrorist group Boko Haram.

A Nigerian martial court announced on Tuesday that the 54 special forces troops from the 7th Division were sentenced to death accused of mutiny and cowardice.

The judge stated that the soldiers refused last August to retake three northern towns, which have been captured by the militant group that fights to declare a caliphate in Nigeria.

The press was never allowed to attend any hearings.

All soldiers, according to the defendants lawyer, claim innocence. The sentence, which states all of them must be executed by a firing squad, must be approved by senior officials so it is not clear when or if the soldiers will finally be executed.

Last September, 12 soldiers were also sentenced to death for similar charges.

Nigerian soldiers often complain that the government does not provide them with the proper equipment to fight the militant group.

Boko Haram is an insurgent group founded in 2002 that has declared an Islamic state in Nigeria, where half of the population is Christian and the other half is Muslim. The name of the group means “Western education is forbidden.”

It became more notorious early this year after the group kidnapped more than 200 girls. Since then, the group has seized several villages and kidnapped more girls, boys, and even the family of a local politician.

It is estimed that more than 2,000 people have been killed by Boko Haram in 2014.

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