Don’t Kill Soldiers for Refusing Suicide Mission


Target: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan

Goal: Save soldiers sentenced to death for refusing to fight without the necessary tools

A group of Nigerian soldiers has been sentenced to death by firing squad for refusing to fight the Islamic extremist terrorist group, Boko Haram, without the necessary training or weapons. In what could be classified as a suicide mission, the 54 men—all between the ages of 21 and 25—were ordered to attack and recapture towns that had recently been taken by Boko Haram, but were not given the weapons they had earlier been promised.

On July 9 2014, Boko Haram forces attacked the Nigerian battalion when only 174 of its 750 men were in the area. As a result of the attack, 26 men died and 82 were seriously injured. Following the attack, the men requested sufficient arms, which they were promptly promised. Extensive government corruption often means that money allotted to the acquisition of military supplies is funded instead to the waiting hands of backwards officials.

The men never received those arms, but on Aug. 4, they did receive orders to deploy and reclaim three Boko Haram strong points. The few men who followed the orders were kidnapped. Four days later, after more provisions were made available, another group of soldiers carried out their previous orders and recaptured the towns and rescued the men taken during the first ambush.

Though the men were commended for their bravery, they were also accused of mutiny for embarrassing the armed forces when they asked for weapons and sentenced to death during proceedings journalists were banned from. Femi Falana, a defense attorney working to save the men, says the executions are simply a diversionary tactic, wasting the soldiers’ lives without legal justification, rather than addressing any of the problems that led to the men’s unpatriotic behavior.

Demand these soldiers be freed and their lives spared.


Dear President Jonathan,

The 54 soldiers who were sentenced to death for refusing to engage in a suicide mission until they received proper equipment were commended for their bravery. The situation they were placed in gave them no choice but to wait for the requisite weaponry before engaging better trained and better armed forces in combat. Ordering soldiers to risk their lives for very little positional military gain is not only unethical, but illogical.

The soldiers had also been promised they would receive arms prior to their deployment. An army incapable of even protecting itself is hardly an army at all. When a nation’s citizens are sent to war, it is understood that they may not return alive, but it is the duty of their government to do everything in its power to ensure that as many of those brave lives as possible are saved.

I urge you to free the Nigerian soldiers who wanted no more than the appropriate tools for the job they were ordered to do.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Tech Sgt. H. H. Deffner via Wikimedia Commons

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