Tuesday, June 3, 2014 6:38 pm
Ten generals and five other senior military officers have been found guilty in courts-martial of providing arms and information to Boko Haram extremists, the Leadership newspaper has reported.
According to the report, four other officers, in addition to the 15, were found guilty of “being disloyal and for working for the members of the sect.”
Before the report of the court martial, there were persistent reports that some Nigerian military officers were collaborating with Boko Haram insurgents, a claim often denied by the military high command.
There was no official confirmation of the report by Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade.
Last week, he denied that senior military officers were being investigated for helping Boko Haram and sabotaging a year-old offensive to curb the 5-year-old uprising that has killed thousands.
But the Leadership quoted military officers saying the 15 found guilty of providing arms to Boko Haram are among many more being tried at divisional level. The verdicts are being referred to defense headquarters in Abuja, the capital, where the fate of the officers will be decided, the newspaper said. The officers it quoted spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to give information to reporters.
Boko Haram has attracted international condemnation and U.N. sanctions since its April 15 abduction of more than 300 schoolgirls, of whom 223 remain captive.
The kidnapping crisis has highlighted Nigeria’s failure to curb Boko Haram’s uprising.
President Goodluck Jonathan said last year that he believed that some members of the military and even of his own government, including some Cabinet ministers, sympathized with Boko Haram or belonged to the group. The military campaign is backed by a state of emergency in the northeast but it has failed to curb attacks, which actually have increased this year. Jonathan in January fired his entire military command and weeks later replaced the defense minister.
His government and military have been harshly criticized for lack of action that has led to the schoolgirls’ prolonged captivity. Defense chief Air Marshal Alex Badeh said last week the military knows where they are being held but fears to use force as it could get the girls killed. Jonathan is under increasing pressure to make a deal with the insurgents, who are demanding he free detained fighters in return for the girls.