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Nigerian soldier sentenced to death for 'Boko Haram' murder

By AFP

Added 10th June 2017 06:35 AM

The soldier, identified only as Lance Corporal Hilary Joel, was convicted of killing the suspect in Damboa, some 90 kilometres (56 miles) from the Borno state capital Maiduguri.

Nigerian soldier sentenced to death for 'Boko Haram' murder

The soldier, identified only as Lance Corporal Hilary Joel, was convicted of killing the suspect in Damboa, some 90 kilometres (56 miles) from the Borno state capital Maiduguri.

Nigeria's military on Friday said a soldier had been sentenced to death for murdering a Boko Haram suspect, in a rare publicised conviction of army abuse in the long-running conflict.

The soldier, identified only as Lance Corporal Hilary Joel, was convicted of killing the suspect in Damboa, some 90 kilometres (56 miles) from the Borno state capital Maiduguri.

No other details were given about the circumstances of the killing.

But Nigerian Army 7th Division spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kingsley Samuel said a representative from the National Human Rights Commission was present at the court martial.

Four other soldiers were also found guilty of a variety of other offences, including a private who was jailed for 15 years for "aiding and abetting (the) murder of a minor in Maiduguri". 

A trooper was jailed for stealing ammunition while a corporal was demoted to the rank of private for assault, Samuel said in an emailed statement. 

A sergeant was demoted to private for desertion and other offences, he added.

Human rights groups have repeatedly accused Nigeria's military of a catalogue of abuses against civilians in the conflict with Boko Haram, including arbitrary arrest, torture and extrajudicial killing.

Thousands of people have been rounded up and held for long periods without charge on suspicion of links to the Islamist militants, whose insurgency has killed at least 20,000 since 2009.

The military typically rejects the claims.

In February, it announced that a soldier had been jailed for seven years for the manslaughter of a market trader in Maiduguri.

In September 2014, 12 soldiers were sentenced to death for mutiny. The following December, 54 others received the same sentence for refusing to deploy for an operation.

Nigeria's civilian and Islamic courts retain capital punishment but the sentences are rarely carried out. Three death row prisoners were reportedly executed in December last year.

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