14 Year Old Bomber: My Parents Gave Me To Boko Haram For Suicide Attack
Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) – A 14-year-old Nigerian girl who was arrested with
explosives strapped to her body told journalists Wednesday that her
parents volunteered her to take part in a suicide attack.
The girl, who was identified as Zahra'u Babangida, was arrested in Kano on
December 10 following a double suicide bombing in a market that killed 10
She was presented to journalists by police and instructed to recount how
Islamist militants allegedly forced her to take part in the attack.
She said her mother and father, both Boko Haram sympathisers, took her to
an insurgent hideout in a forest near the town of Gidan Zana in Kano
She said one alleged militant leader asked her whether she knew what a
suicide bombing was.
“They said, 'Can you do it?' I said no.
“They said, 'You will go to heaven if you do it.' I said 'No I can't.'
They said they would shoot me or throw me into a dungeon,” Zahra'u told
There was no way to independently verify her story and she had no lawyer
present. No information was available concerning the whereabouts of her
Police said they had instructed the girl to tell her story to boost public
awareness about those responsible for the December 10 attack.
Faced with the threat of death, Zahra'u said she finally agreed to take
part in the attack but “never had any intention of doing it.”
Several days later, Zahra'u said, she and three other girls, all wearing
explosives, were brought to the Kantin Kwari market by unidentified men.
Zahra'u said she was injured when one of the girls detonated her bomb and
then she fled the scene, ending up at a hospital on the outskirts of Kano
where she was discovered to be carrying explosives.
Boko Haram has increasingly used female suicide bombers, including
teenagers, as part of their five-year insurgency.
Kano, the largest city in the mainly Muslim north, saw four such attacks
in one week in July, while similar bombings have hit the states of Bauchi
Experts say the group has used girls as bombers to demonstrate the range
of tactics they have available to sow fear across Nigeria.
If confirmed, Zahra'u's story would be the first known case of parents
volunteering their daughter to take part in a deadly attack.
Violence in northern Nigeria has intensified in recent months, raising
security fears ahead of February 14 elections.
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