Teenage girl rips off suicide bomb vest, flees Boko Haram captors

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Strapped with a booby-trapped vest and sent by the extremist Boko Haram group to kill as many people as possible, the young teenage girl tore off the explosives and fled as soon as she was out of sight of her handlers.

See Full Article

Her two companions, however, completed their grisly mission and walked into a crowd of hundreds at Dikwa refugee camp in northeast Nigeria and blew themselves up, killing 58 people.

Later found by local self-defence forces, the girl's tearful account is one of the first indications that at least some of the child bombers used by Boko Haram are aware that they are about to die and kill others.

"She said she was scared because she knew she would kill people. But she was also frightened of going against the instructions of the men who brought her to the camp," said Modu Awami, a self-defence fighter who helped question the girl.

She was among thousands held captive for months by the extremists, according to Algoni Lawan, a spokesman for the Ngala local government area that has many residents at the camp and who is privy to information about her interrogation by security forces.

"She confessed to our security operatives that she was worried if she went ahead and carried out the attack that she might kill her own father, who she knew was in the camp," he told the AP on Thursday.

The girl tried to persuade her companions to abandon the mission, he said, "but she said she could not convince the two others to change their minds."

Her story was corroborated when she led soldiers to the unexploded vest, Awami said Thursday, speaking by phone from the refugee camp, which holds 50,000 people who have fled Boko Haram's Islamic uprising.

The girl is in custody and has given officials information about other planned bombings that has helped them increase security at the camp, said Satomi Ahmed, chairman of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency.

The United States on Thursday strongly condemned the bombings. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. remains committed to assisting those afflicted by the conflict and supports efforts to provide greater protection for civilians and the regional fight against terrorism.

Boko Haram's 6-year-old Islamic insurgency has killed 20,000 people, made 2.5 million homeless and spread across Nigeria's borders.

The extremists have kidnapped thousands of people and the increasing number of suicide bombings by girls and children have raised fears they are turning some captives into weapons. An army bomb disposal expert has told the AP that some suicide bombs are detonated remotely, so the carriers may not have control over when the bomb goes off.

Even two days later, it's difficult to say exactly how many people died at Dikwa because there were corpses and body parts everywhere, including in the cooking pots, Awami said.

"Women, children, men and aged persons all died," he said. "I cannot say the exact number as some cannot be counted because the bodies were all mangled."

The latest atrocity blamed on Boko Haram extremists was committed against people who had been driven from the homes by the insurgents and had spent a year across the border in Cameroon.

Some 12,000 of them had only returned to Nigeria in January when soldiers declared the area safe. The scene of the killings is 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the border with Cameroon and 85 kilometres (53 miles) northeast of Maiduguri, the biggest city in the northeast and birthplace of Boko Haram.

Such attacks make it difficult for the government to persuade people to return home. The extremists have also razed homes and businesses, destroyed wells and boreholes and stolen livestock and seed grains that farmers need to start their life again.

Associated Press writer Michelle Faul contributed to this report from Lagos, Nigeria


Latest Canada & World News

  • 'I couldn't believe it's real': Residents of Woodstock, Ont., nursing home stunned by murder charges

    Canada News CBC News
    They are rattled and scared, but mostly the Woodstock, Ont., residents of Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Home are in disbelief that a former nurse has been accused of murdering eight patients — seven of them in their very own facility. Source
  • 5 questions about British Airways Flight 286 emergency landing in Vancouver

    Canada News CBC News
    Hundreds of passengers were stranded at Vancouver International Airport today, scrambling for flights after their British Airways plane to London made an emergency landing late Monday night. We know that 22 cabin crew and three pilots from the plane went to hospitals in the Vancouver area and were released shortly after. Source
  • Three Canadians to appear in Australian court on drug-smuggling charges

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL — The three Canadian cruise ship passengers charged in Australia with drug smuggling are scheduled to appear in a Sydney courtroom Wednesday. Andre Tamine, 64, Isabelle Lagace, 28, and Melina Roberge, 23, were arrested in late August after the MS Sea Princess, operated by California-based Princess Cruises, berthed in the Australian metropolis. Source
  • Two kids were lucky to survive accident at Australia theme park, police say

    World News CTV News
    SYDNEY, Australia - Two young children are fortunate to be alive, police said Wednesday, after they were thrown clear and survived an accident that killed four people on a river rapids ride at a popular theme park in Australia. Source
  • U.S. says alleged Bali bombing figure to stay at Guantanamo

    World News CTV News
    MIAMI -- A U.S. government review board has rejected the release of the alleged Southeastern Asian terrorist leader known as Hambali from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Periodic Review Board said in a short statement released Tuesday that Hambali continues to be a "significant threat to the security of the United States. Source
  • Family, friends of alleged victims of Woodstock, Ont., nurse remember loved ones

    Canada News CBC News
    Kind, gentle and caring. That's how Susan Robinson remembers her old friend James Silcox, one of the alleged victims of a Woodstock, Ont., nurse who is facing murder charges in the deaths of eight elderly people in nursing homes. Source
  • U.S. mom hosted teen sex parties

    World News Toronto Sun
    A Louisiana mother of five has been tossed in jail for a year after she was convicted of hosting -- and participating in -- booze and dope-fuelled teen sex parties. Brunette Rachel Carrier, 35, was even a frequent flier in the hormone-charged hijinks regularly pairing off with a 15-year-old boy. Source
  • Oregon standoff juror questions impartiality of fellow juror

    World News CTV News
    PORTLAND, Ore. - Federal prosecutors' case against the armed occupiers of an Oregon wildlife refuge hit a bump Tuesday when a juror raised questions about the impartiality of another person on the panel. Jurors sent two notes to the judge that indicated they were having difficulty reaching a consensus after three days of deliberations. Source
  • Official: Tire treads worn on bus in fatal California crash

    World News Toronto Sun
    PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Ana Car didn’t remember the sudden impact, only that she woke up among dead and injured passengers in a dark bus filled with screams of terror and agony. The retired factory worker had spent an evening gambling at a desert casino and was sound asleep when the bus heading to Los Angeles smashed into the rear of a slow-moving tractor-trailer. Source
  • RCMP to face new class-action harassment lawsuit, this time on behalf of male employees

    Canada News CBC News
    The RCMP will soon face another class-action harassment lawsuit — this time on behalf of male Mounties and civilian employees of the force. Earlier this month, the federal government and the RCMP set aside $100 million to settle an estimated 1,000 cases of female employees being harassed and bullied at work. Source