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

  • Russia says expert body on Syria chemical attacks 'is dead'

    World News CTV News
    Russia's U.N. ambassador said Wednesday the expert body that has determined responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria "is dead" -- but Moscow is ready to discuss "a new mechanism." Vassily Nebenzia told reporters after a closed Security Council discussion that the Joint Investigative Mechanism, or JIM, "has discredited itself completely. Source
  • B.C. man charged after cat allegedly drugged, bleached and shaved

    Canada News CTV News
    The RCMP has arrested a 20-year-old man after a disturbing incident involving an animal was posted on social media in which a cat was allegedly drugged, shaved, bleached and thrown out a window in B.C. Source
  • Witness testifies he sold Dellen Millard a gun days before Laura Babcock vanished

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A witness at a murder trial says he sold one of the accused a gun days before a young Toronto woman vanished. Matthew Ward-Jackson says he pleaded guilty to the gun transaction with Dellen Millard that took place in early July 2012. Source
  • Sessions orders review of background check system for guns

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday ordered a far-ranging review of the FBI database containing information for use in background checks on prospective gun buyers. The move comes after the Air Force acknowledged that a man who killed more than two dozen people in a south Texas church this month should have had his name and domestic violence conviction submitted to the database. Source
  • 'A really important discussion': Trudeau weighs in on name of Edmonton's CFL team

    Canada News CBC News
    Edmonton needs to talk about the name of its football team, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley both said in Ottawa on Wednesday. Trudeau was asked about the name Edmonton Eskimos at a news conference. Source
  • Former IWK CEO removed from 100 most powerful women list

    Canada News CBC News
    The former CEO of the IWK Health Centre has been removed from a list of Canada's most powerful women, an award created by the Women's Executive Network. A spokesperson for the organization that says it is dedicated to the advancement and recognition of professional women confirmed Tracy Kitch was named to the top 100 list before she became the subject of an investigation for charging personal expenses to the IWK Health Centre, a women and children's hospital in Halifax. Source
  • Police release better photos of $86K-Rolex-watch thief suspect

    Canada News CBC News
    Police put out better photos Wednesday in hopes of catching the person who stole an $86,000 Rolex watch from Lime Ridge Mall in July. Rolex refers to it as the "ultimate" watch. Police previously said a man walked into Ashley Jewellers at the mall on Saturday afternoon in July and said he wanted to buy a high end, platinum watch from Rolex called the "Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. Source
  • Why your child support payments may be adjusted, starting today

    Canada News CTV News
    If you pay or receive child support, you may see the monthly amounts change now that the Department of Justice has updated the federal child support tables. The child support adjustments took effect Wednesday, and reflect new personal income tax rules, which lowered the tax rate for Canadians earning between $45,282 and $90,563 per year and raised the tax rate for those earning over $200,000 annually. Source
  • Canadian general who led UN force in Sarajevo commends Mladic conviction

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A retired Canadian major-general who led a United Nations force in Sarajevo is commending an international court for convicting former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic to life in prison for genocide and other crimes. Source
  • Search underway for man and child who set out from Igloolik by snowmobile

    Canada News CBC News
    A man and a boy are missing after setting out on a snowmobile to travel from Igloolik to Hall Beach, Nunavut. The two communities are now conducting a joint search and rescue operation for the man, in his 20s, and a 13-year-old boy, says Igloolik Mayor Celestino Uyarak. Source