A court martial, set up by the military authorities to try eighteen officers for offences committed while on internal security operations in the North-East last night in Abuja, found seventeen of them guilty of of six count charge of criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny, disobeying lawful orders and various acts inimical to the military service.
The nine-member all military Court Martial also found the soldiers guilty of insubordinate behaviour, use of abusive language, leveling false accusation against their superior officers, among others.
They were found guilty of attempting to kill their erstwhile General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Major General Ahmed Mohammed by shooting at his official car between May 13 and 14, 2014.
The incident took place at the Maimalari Barracks, Maiduguri in the course of the on-going counter insurgency campaign.
The court also found them guilty of preventing the movement of some of their injured colleagues to hospital and obstructing evacuation of their dead colleagues who were killed in ambush on their way from a operation in Chibok, Borno state.
The convicted soldiers are Cpl. David Musa; L/Cpl. Friday Onu; L/Cpl. Yusuf Shuaibu; L/Cpl. Emmanuel Iganmu; Priv. Andrew Gbede; Priv. Nurudeen Ahmed; Priv. Ifeanyi Anukabe; Priv. Alao Samuel and Priv. Alan Linus.
Others are: Cpl. David Robert; Cpl. Mohammed Sani; L/Cpl. Stephen Clement; Priv. Namaan Samuel; Priv. Ichocho Jeremiah and Priv. Sebastine Amah; Priv. Amadi Chukwudi; and Cpl. Jasper Baido.
They were found guilty of three out of the six count charges against them, which are conspiracy, mutiny and attempted murder of Maj. Gen. Mohammed.
However, one of the soldiers, Private Ise Ubong was discharged and acquitted, having been found innocent of all the charges.
It could be recalled that, last August, the soldiers allegedly mutinied in Borno, over lack of sufficient weapons and ammunition to fight the on-going insurgency launched by the dreaded Boko Haram sect in the state.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, however came hard on the mutinous soldiers stating that death sentence awaits them as consequence for their act of insubordination.
Minimah had said, “Mutiny is death sentence”, while condemning the action of the spouses of the army officers who demonstrated against the deployment of their husbands.
The 18 soldiers were arrested as being the masterminds of the crisis that rocked the 7 Division of the Army in Maiduguri on May 14, 2014.
The soldiers, upon their arrest, disarmed after the investigating team set up by the Army Headquarters found them culpable of the offence. They were allegedly flown to Abuja.
In a related development, gunmen, suspected to be members of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents have reportedly kidnapped not less than 50 women and many young children in Gulak, the headquarters of Madagali local government area of Adamawa state.
The gunmen, who had laid siege on the area, were said to conduct house-to-house search looking for young and healthy looking men and women, whom they ran away with.
A fleeing resident Garba Gulak told this correspondent on phone that the insurgents struck the area in their numbers, as they chanted: Allahu Akbar!, signifying victory as they carted away with their victims without any challenge.
“They started loading our women and children into their vehicles, threatening to shoot whoever disobeyed them. Everybody was scared”, Gulak said.
A source in the area, who does not want his name in print, said the insurgents have taken away many young men and women to their abode for possible recruitment into their army.
‘’Yes, we have been told that the insurgents have kidnapped several women and children, though we are yet to get the full details,’’ said the source.
A former chairman of Madagali, LGA, Mr. Maina Ularamu said: “The information I have is that they selected some women and locked them in the local government secretariat”.