The Nigerian government has sentenced to death 54 soldiers who refused to fight against Islamist insurgents in the country, AP reported.
The soldiers, charged with "mutiny, assault and cowardice", will be executed by firing squad.
The mass death sentence was issued as the soldiers allegedly "conspired to commit mutiny against the authorities of 7 Division, Nigerian Army," and refused to deploy to recapture three towns seized by terror group Boko Haram in August.
In October, local media reported that some soldiers allegedly injured themselves to avoid deployment in areas controlled by Boko Haram. It is believed that they refused to fight the insurgents after clashes had caused the deaths of hundreds of troops.
Soldiers often complain that they are deployed to rebel areas without enough ammunition or food and that they are not paid regularly.
The verdict comes as Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks in northern and central Nigeria in a bid to defeat authorities and expand its Islamic caliphate.
In its latest attack, the group killed 32 people and kidnapped scores during a raid in the Gumsuri village, Borno state.
Earlier in December, the group was believed to have carried out an attack that killed at least seven people and injured another 30 in a market place in Kano state.
Boko Haram has often targeted Kano in recent times. In December the terrorists bombed a mosque in the city during Friday prayers, killing at least 200 people in the blast and subsequent shooting massacre.
The militants' fresh assaults came weeks after the Nigerian government announced it had reached a ceasefire with the terror group.
Shekau released a video in which he called the claims of a truce "lies".
"We did not negotiate with anyone," he said. "It's a lie. It's a lie. We will not negotiate. What is our business with negotiation? Allah said we should not."