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Nigerian army reinstates 3,032 soldiers fired for indiscipline in war with extremists



More than 3,000 soldiers who were dismissed from the Nigerian army for alleged indiscipline ?in the ongoing war with Boko Haram Islamic extremists in the northeast of the country have been reinstated, an army spokesman said Thursday.

A panel set up to review the cases recommended reinstatement of 3,032 soldiers out of the 5,000 cases that were reviewed, army spokesman Col. Sani Usman said.

“The reinstated soldiers have shown their total readiness to be re-launched into the theatre to combat insurgency and have now commenced retraining exercise at the Nigerian Army Training Center,” Usman said.

On the fate of 66 soldiers who were sentenced to death by military courts for mutiny related offences at the war front, Usman said the panel reviewed only some of the disciplinary cases, not criminal cases.

“In any case, the condemned soldiers have already filed for appeal. So it is in the judicial process and it is on,” he said. Human rights lawyers say some of the charges were a travesty of justice because corrupt officers often divert money meant for food and rations for soldiers. Soldiers have described being sent into battle with no rations and just 30 bullets each.

The soldiers’ reinstatement comes three months after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has vowed to crush the Boko Haram Islamic uprising which has spilled across Nigeria’s borders. Buhari has acknowledged the military is not sufficiently supported or equipped.

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