Lagos — The military announced a reprieve Saturday for 66 soldiers sentenced to death by firing squad for mutiny and trying to kill their commanding officer in the war on Boko Haram, commuting their sentence to 10 years' imprisonment.
Army chief Gen. Tukur Buratai made the decision after ordering a legal review of secret courts-martial held last year under his predecessor, according to a Ministry of Defense statement.
The 66 mutinied after dozens of fellow soldiers died in a Boko Haram ambush, when they were ordered against their will to drive down a dangerous road at night.
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The military is also reviewing the cases of other soldiers, including 579 put on secret trial in May, the statement said.
It did not say if the reviews include Brig. Gen. Enitan Ransome Kuti — a nephew of Afrobeat music legend Fela Ransome-Kuti — who was dismissed from the army in October and sentenced to six months' jail for losing a major battle in which Boko Haram Islamic extremists killed hundreds of civilians.
Hundreds of Nigerian soldiers have deserted, complaining that they are not properly equipped, sent into battle with just 30 bullets each and without any food rations.
The reprieves come as a former presidential adviser on national security is on trial for allegedly diverting $2.1 billion meant to buy weapons for the military.