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Nigerian general jailed for failing to stop Boko Haram raid

Hundreds of civilians were killed and stores of military equipment lost when the Nigerian army retreated from a Boko Haram assault on the town of Baga in January.

By
Fred Lambert
A Nigerian army general was sentenced to six months in jail Friday for failing to perform his duties when Boko Haram militants overran the town of Baga, in northeastern Nigeria's Borno state, in January. Baga, pictured above in 1977, was largely burned away in the assault, while hundreds of civilians were killed and large quantities of weaponry captured. Photo by Ryszard Vorbrich/ Wikimedia Commons
A Nigerian army general was sentenced to six months in jail Friday for failing to perform his duties when Boko Haram militants overran the town of Baga, in northeastern Nigeria's Borno state, in January. Baga, pictured above in 1977, was largely burned away in the assault, while hundreds of civilians were killed and large quantities of weaponry captured. Photo by Ryszard Vorbrich/ Wikimedia Commons

ABUJA, Nigeria, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Nigeria sentenced a military general to six months in jail for failing to perform his duties during a Boko Haram assault on the town of Baga early this year.

Baga, in northeastern Nigeria's Borno state, fell to Boko Haram in January when military forces at a nearby base retreated from their positions, allowing the militants to conduct a follow-on attack that resulted in hundreds of deaths and the burning of the town.

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The BBC reported Gen. Enitan Ransome-Kuti on Friday was dismissed from the armed forces and also found guilty of "loss of equipment" after the insurgents gained large quantities of ammunition, several armored personnel carriers, 12 Toyota pickup trucks, three rocket-propelled grenade launchers and more than a dozen machine guns.

A lawyer representing Ransome-Kuti told the BBC he will appeal the decision. The court reportedly dropped a separate charge of cowardice.

The army regained Baga in February after sustaining heavy casualties. Sources vary on the number of people killed; the Nigerian government reports 150, while locals say up to 2,000 are still missing.

The loss is considered the worst inflicted on Nigeria's military by Boko Haram, which has killed an estimated 17,000 people since 2009 in a bid to create an Islamic government in the region.

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Ransome-Kuti's prosecution comes after a Nigerian court in August charged the country's former national security adviser for illegal possession of weapons and vehicles which authorities said were bought with funds obtained through corruption.

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