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

  • Assault charge stayed for northern B.C. politician Pat Pimm

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- An assault charge against a member of the B.C. legislature has been stayed. A spokesman for the Criminal Justice Branch says Pat Pimm agreed to a peace bond Monday for a period of eight months that prohibits him from contacting the complainant. Source
  • Iranian baby with heart defect delayed by travel ban doing well, say doctors

    World News CTV News
    PORTLAND, Ore. -- Physicians say a four-month-old Iranian girl with a rare heart condition who was affected by President Donald Trump's travel ban is "out of the woods" and making good progress after her life-saving surgery last Friday. Source
  • Hundreds of thousands remain without water after floods in Chile

    World News CTV News
    SANTIAGO, Chile - Hundreds of thousands of homes in communities around Chile's capital remained without water Monday as authorities struggled to restore service following floods caused by Andean rainfall. There were three confirmed deaths and 19 people were listed as missing in the flooding. Source
  • Accused Kim Jong-nam killer partied until dawn

    World News Toronto Sun
    One of the party girls accused of killing the estranged brother of North Korean despot Kim Jong-un was at a birthday bash ’til dawn on the day of the murder. Cops say the Feb. 13 mission was to kill Kim Jong-nam with a deadly poison. Source
  • Reena Virk's mother speaks out on Kelly Ellard decision

    Canada News CTV News
    The mother of murdered B.C. teen Reena Virk doesn’t believe the parole board that granted her daughter’s killer temporary escorted absences from prison would have been swayed by the Virk family’s opposition. “The powers that be will do what they want to do regardless,” Suman Virk told CTV News Channel Monday. Source
  • UN condemns North Korea's attempts to evade sanctions

    World News CTV News
    The Security Council on Monday condemned North Korea's "irresponsible and provocative" attempts to evade UN sanctions. Council members emphasized "the importance of full compliance" with the six rounds of increasingly tougher sanctions in a statement after closed-door discussions. Source
  • TTC ad for app showing pot shop listings lights up controversy

    Canada News CBC News
    A set of ads displayed across the TTC for an app called WeedMaps is lighting up controversy over whether the transit agency should be helping marijuana dispensaries generate profits, as police attempt to crack down on illegal pot shops in the city. Source
  • Cyberspy service eyes political blackmail as part of democratic risk assessment

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The threat of political blackmail could figure in a wide-ranging review of risks to Canada's electoral system, says a senior official from the national cyberspy agency. Safeguarding personal information on voters lists, ensuring election ballot tallies aren't manipulated and preventing fake news from swaying the public might also be part of the study, said Scott Jones of the Communications Security Establishment. Source
  • Halifax friends post Kijiji ad for dates to hockey game, get 200 responses

    Canada News CTV News
    A pair of friends in Halifax found unlikely success in their bid to find dates to a hockey game after taking inspiration from a Hollywood movie. Nick Hartling and Connor Beck consider each other best friends and share a love for hockey and humour. Source
  • Calgary homicide victim Susie Elko 'never stood a chance' Listen to 911 call

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    playpausestopmuteunmute 911 Call Accused killer was 'like a zombie' Susie Elko was fatally stabbed with the knife she gave to her boyfriend as a birthday present, a prosecutor said Monday. Source