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Nigeria sentences 54 troops to death for refusing to fight extremists; officers to be tried

  • FILE -In this Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 file photo, soldiers accused of refusing to fight in the country's northeastern Islamic uprising appear before a court martial in Abuja, Nigeria.  On Wednesday Dec. 17, 2014, the court-martial sentenced 54 soldiers to death for mutiny, assault, cowardice and refusing to fight Islamic extremists, connected to the soldiers' refusal to deploy to recapture three towns seized by Nigeria's home-grown Boko Haram in August, according to the charge sheet. The lawyer for the condemned men, Femi Falana, said the 54 soldiers were convicted and sentenced to death by firing squad. He said five soldiers were acquitted.(AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga FILE)

    FILE -In this Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 file photo, soldiers accused of refusing to fight in the country's northeastern Islamic uprising appear before a court martial in Abuja, Nigeria. On Wednesday Dec. 17, 2014, the court-martial sentenced 54 soldiers to death for mutiny, assault, cowardice and refusing to fight Islamic extremists, connected to the soldiers' refusal to deploy to recapture three towns seized by Nigeria's home-grown Boko Haram in August, according to the charge sheet. The lawyer for the condemned men, Femi Falana, said the 54 soldiers were convicted and sentenced to death by firing squad. He said five soldiers were acquitted.(AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga FILE)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE -In this Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 file photo, soldiers accused of refusing to fight in the country's northeastern Islamic uprising appear before a court martial in Abuja, Nigeria.  On Wednesday Dec. 17, 2014, the court-martial sentenced 54 soldiers to death for mutiny, assault, cowardice and refusing to fight Islamic extremists, connected to the soldiers' refusal to deploy to recapture three towns seized by Nigeria's home-grown Boko Haram in August, according to the charge sheet. The lawyer for the condemned men, Femi Falana, said the 54 soldiers were convicted and sentenced to death by firing squad. He said five soldiers were acquitted.(AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga FILE)

    FILE -In this Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 file photo, soldiers accused of refusing to fight in the country's northeastern Islamic uprising appear before a court martial in Abuja, Nigeria. On Wednesday Dec. 17, 2014, the court-martial sentenced 54 soldiers to death for mutiny, assault, cowardice and refusing to fight Islamic extremists, connected to the soldiers' refusal to deploy to recapture three towns seized by Nigeria's home-grown Boko Haram in August, according to the charge sheet. The lawyer for the condemned men, Femi Falana, said the 54 soldiers were convicted and sentenced to death by firing squad. He said five soldiers were acquitted.(AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga FILE)  (The Associated Press)

A defense attorney says a court-martial that sentenced 54 soldiers to death will try another 43 soldiers and officers also accused of refusing to fight Islamic extremists in Nigeria.

Court-martial charges against the soldiers sentenced Wednesday night all were connected to their refusal to deploy to recapture three towns seized by Boko Haram in August.

The lawyer for the condemned men, Femi Falana, said five men were acquitted.

Falana said Thursday another 43 soldiers including a few officers remain on trial for allegedly "conspiring to commit mutiny against the authorities of 7 Division," which is on the front line of the fighting in Nigeria's northeast.

Troops regularly complain that they are outgunned by Boko Haram and are not supported with enough ammunition or food.