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



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 2 Canadians among dead in Mexico nightclub shooting [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    CANCUN, Mexico — Two Canadians are among five people killed today in a shooting attack at an electronic music festival in Mexico’s Caribbean coast resort of Playa del Carmen. And the Canadian government says at least two Canadians were among the injured in the same attack. Source
  • Unethical behaviour? Following Bahamas trip, Trudeau investigated over use of Aga Khan’s helicopter

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — The federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has launched an investigation into the circumstances of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s New Year’s holiday in the Bahamas, Postmedia Network has learned, the first time a sitting prime minister has come under scrutiny by the independent parliamentary watchdog. Source
  • 'I fought back': A mother's fight to clear her name in toddler death

    Canada News CTV News
    Two decades after her toddler Jenna was brutally murdered by a teenaged babysitter, Brenda Waudby is finally getting the opportunity to grieve. The single mother from Peterborough, Ont., has never had the opportunity to properly mourn the loss of her almost two-year-old daughter because she spent nine years trying to clear her name as a murder suspect in the case and another seven years refuting allegations of child abuse. Source
  • British pound drops to lowest since 1985 as Theresa May to outline Brexit plan

    World News CBC News
    The British pound fell to its lowest since 1985 on Monday after speculation ramped up that British Prime Minister Theresa May will lay out her plans for a so-called "hard Brexit" from the EU to European lawmakers tomorrow. Source
  • UN official: 10,000 civilians killed in Yemen conflict

    World News CTV News
    SANAA, Yemen -- The United Nations' humanitarian aid official in Yemen said Monday that the civilian death toll in the nearly two-year conflict has reached 10,000, with 40,000 others wounded. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' Jamie McGoldrick told reporters the figure is based on lists of victims gathered by health facilities and the actual number might be higher. Source
  • Car vs. bike: Driver pushing cyclist, caught on video

    Canada News CTV News
    Ottawa police say they will not lay charges after a startling confrontation captured on video, in which a driver can be seen using his vehicle to push a cyclist at an intersection. The video shows a man on a bike and another man in a grey car arguing with each other at a busy intersection in Ottawa, where bike lanes run alongside vehicle lanes. Source
  • Kids born to opioid-addicted moms seem to fare poorly in school

    World News CBC News
    Neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs when addictive drugs such as opioids or sedatives pass through the placenta during pregnancy. (Torsten Mangner/Flickr) Children exposed to addictive drugs in the womb may be more likely to perform poorly in school, Australian researchers report. Source
  • Ethics watchdog investigates Trudeau's vacation in the Bahamas

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada's ethics commissioner has launched an investigation into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's family vacation to the Aga Khan's private island home in the Bahamas. In a letter to Conservative ethics critic Blain Calkins that is stamped "Confidential" and was obtained by CBC News, Mary Dawson said she is "satisfied" the issues he has raised about Trudeau's travel meet the requirements for an investigation. Source
  • New Brunswick university establishes new cybersecurity institute

    Canada News CTV News
    FREDERICTON -- The University of New Brunswick opened a new cybersecurity institute Monday in hopes of establishing an educational hub for one of the most pressing issues in the information age. University officials, industry partners and members of the federal and provincial governments announced the launch of the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity in Fredericton. Source
  • World’s 8 richest men own as much as 3.6 billion poorest

    World News Toronto Sun
    DAVOS, Switzerland — The gap between the super-rich and the poorest half of the global population is starker than previously thought, with just eight men, from Bill Gates to Michael Bloomberg, owning as much wealth as 3.6 billion people, according to an analysis by Oxfam released Monday. Source