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54 Nigerian Soldiers Sentenced to Death for Mutiny

FILE - Soldiers accused of refusing to fight in the country's northeastern Islamic uprising appear before a court-martial in Abuja, Nigeria, Oct. 15, 2014.

A Nigerian army court has sentenced 54 soldiers to death for refusing to fight the militant group Boko Haram.

The soldiers were charged with mutiny and cowardice after they refused orders in August to help retake three towns held by the Islamist militants in northeastern Borno state.

A lawyer for the men, Femi Falana, said Wednesday that five other soldiers tried in the court-martial had been acquitted.

The convicted soldiers, all members of the army's 7th Division, based in Maiduguri, are to be executed by firing squad.

Nigerian soldiers have complained that they are outgunned by Boko Haram and that they are often sent into battle without adequate supplies.

The militants have seized a string of towns in Borno and Adamawa states this year, and their leader, Abubakar Shekau, has declared an Islamic caliphate in the region.

Another group of 12 Nigerian soldiers was sentenced to death in September for mutiny and attempted murder of their commanding officer.

There has been no word on when any of the death sentences will be carried out.