Boko Haram: 80 Soldiers Face Court-martial For cowardice, desertion

Posted by News Express | 8 November 2019 | 1,158 times

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 Another batch of 80 soldiers have been arraigned before a military court for offences ranging from cowardice, desertion, “unsoldierly behaviour” to other forms of indiscipline in the war against Boko Haram terrorists in the North East zone.

Only last Friday, the Army authorities in Maiduguri, Borno State, began the trial of six officers and 14 soldiers for similar offences.

The 80 soldiers were brought before the General Court Martial in Maiduguri, yesterday, which sat at the Maimalari Cantonment. It was inaugurated by the acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen. Abdul Khalifah Ibrahim.

Brig-Gen. Ibrahim said that the ability of the military to succeed in operations was better achieved when the ethics and traditions of the armed forces aimed at enhancing discipline are encouraged.

He said: “The military worldwide is known for the entrenchment of discipline and decorum while discharging its duties. In this regard, acts of cowardice, desertion, unsoldierly behaviour and other forms of indiscipline have no place in the army, more so, for an army that is executing a war.

“It is against this background that I decided to convene a General Court Martial under my command. The powers are confined on me as the General Officer Commanding by Section 131 (2) (d) of the Armed Forces Act CAP A 20 Laws of the Federation 2004.

“This court does not have any special interest to serve rather than routine duties carried out within the legal confines of regimentation. This goes to show that the principles of natural justice, equity and fairness, which are enabling pillars of this General Court Martial will surely guide its conduct throughout.”

The GOC, therefore, urged the president and members of the court, as well as other stakeholders, to remember that an enormous task was placed on them, adding that they should endeavour to perform the task fairly.

He wished them wisdom and courage to function in accordance with the dictates of natural justice and fairness to all.

The judge advocate of the court, Captain Aminu Mairuwa, said that about 80 soldiers were arraigned before it for the offences of cowardice, abscondment, indiscipline, insubordination, among others in the “Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre.”

DHQ Releases 86 Child-fighters

Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said that the “Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC) has handed 86 Boko Haram child-fighters over to the Borno State Rehabilitation Centre in Bulumkutu.

The acting director of Defence Information, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said that the child-soldiers voluntarily surrendered to troops of “Operation Lafiya Dole.”

Nwachukwu said that the move was part of the efforts by the military to ensure that minors and other repentant Boko Haram fighters in the North East were given the opportunity to embrace peace under the auspices of OPSC.

In a statement he issued in Maiduguri, yesterday, Nwachukkwu said that the repentant child-fighters would undergo comprehensive Child Care Programme organised by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in conjunction with the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.

According to him, the child-fighters, who are between ages 10 and 19, are part of the over 1,370 Boko Haram insurgents who have surrendered to troops of “Operation Lafiya Dole.”

He said: “After a thorough profiling and screening, the minors were considered suitable for the six- month deradicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration (DRR) programme.

“Arrangement is also ongoing to transfer another set of 500 repentant insurgents to ‘Operation Safe Corridor’ for the DRR programme,” he said.

The handover ceremony was witnessed by the Borno State commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo and UNICEF official, Mr Clement Adams.

They congratulated the surrendered fighters for laying down their arms and urged them to take advantage of the DRR programme to turn a new leaf and abandon the senseless struggle.

“Operation Safe Corridor” is a Defence Headquarters-led non-kinetic multi-national and multi-agency humanitarian operation conducted in tandem with extant international humanitarian laws to encourage willing and repentant Boko Haram terrorists in the North East to shun violent extremism.

The operation is designed to also deradicalise, rehabilitate and reintegrate repentant Boko Haram combatants who willingly surrender to troops.

The scheme is a global model that enjoys collaboration and support from local and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as well as multi-national organisations.

Nwachukwu said that the armed forces of Nigeria (AFN) had called on willing Boko Haram fighters to abandon the futile struggle and surrender to the troops.

According to him, those who voluntarily surrender to troops are guaranteed of safety and will benefit from the “Operation Safe Corridor” reintegration programme.

 Also, yesterday, the Nigerian Army and the police averted an attempt by insurgents to attack Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.

Residents close to police headquarters along Gashu’a Road in Damaturu said that there were uninterrupted gunshots and explosions from 4:13pm and lasted for about an hour.

A resident of Zannah Zakariya Housing Estate along Gashu’a Road, Mallam Yusuf Adamu, said that “we just heard ceaseless gunshots with heavy explosions from around Police Headquarters and after a few minutes an Alpha jet hovered around the area.”

Ahmad said: “The situation has subsided now (6:18) pm but what I heard was terrible. I saw an Alpha jet firing which scared me and my family.

“I saw six army armoured tank heading towards the Police Headquarters along Gashu’a Road and later the deafening sounds started,” Ahmad said.

When contacted, the Army spokesman, Captain Irabo, said that there was a report on movement of a suspicious group and the Army mobilised to the area immediately.

“It was suspicious movement which prompted us to act immediately and everything is under control now,” Irabo stated.

Similarly, the Nigerian Army has temporarily closed the four highways leading to Damaturu,

Security sources said that the measure was to enable the military ensure the protection of life and property from any suspected attack by Boko Haram.

One of the sources said that “our attention has been draw to rumours that Boko Haram members may launch an attack on Tarmuwa local government area and Damaturu.


Source: News Express

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