Nigeria jails 27 peacekeeper mutineers for life

A group of former UN peacekeepers who staged a protest over pay have been sentenced to life in prison by a military court in the southwest Nigeria state of Ondo.
The 27 Nigerian soldiers, four of them women, were sentenced on Monday after being convicted of mutiny for their violent protest last July in the state capital Akure, Reuters reports.
The troops were pressing for the payment of tens of thousands of dollars of their peacekeeping allowance, which was embezzled by some officers.
They had barricaded the busy Lagos-Ibadan-Abuja highway on July 4 and harassed travellers, before entering the town to loot shops, the military court was told.
“From the evidence before us, the court has been convinced that they committed mutiny by protesting against the order of the commanding officer,” said Brigadier-General Ishaya Bauka, chairman of the court martial.
One soldier was acquitted, while defence lawyer Femi Falana said he would appeal against the sentences which are subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
The court had in January convicted four army officers and a soldier of stealing $68 541 from Nigerian troops returning from UN peacekeeping missions in Liberia.
The court had ordered that the convicted officers be demoted after they were found guilty of diverting the funds meant for peacekeeping troops to another military unit.
The officers, including a deputy director of finance at army headquarters, then paid the soldiers less than the $5040 each approved by the United Nations, sparking the violent protest.