by Azeez Adeniyi
A 14-year old female suspected suicide bomber has said she was chosen to detonate an Improvised Explosive Device in Maiduguri because she refused marriage proposals from Boko Haram members in Sambisa Forest.
She was among those arrested by the military when they allegedly came for a suicide mission at a military facility in Jakana in Maiduguri.
The suspect said she was abducted with her father, Usman, by Boko Haram insurgents in Gwoza, Borno, in 2013.
“I have spent three years in the hands of Boko Haram. Three different Boko Haram (terrorists) had proposed to marry me and I refused. Two among them were commanders (amir).
”When I refused for the third time, one of the commanders became furious and threatened to kill me and my father. I told him I would rather die than marry a Boko Haram (terrorist).
“So, after one week, they said since I have refused to get married, I should be taken to Maiduguri for a suicide mission. So, three of them held my hands and they injected me.
”Then, I never knew what was happening again.
”I was taken to a herbalist, who, after I regained consciousness, told me that I had been with him for 30 days.
“He told me he was preparing me for a mission. So he gave me some water to drink. I don’t know what it tasted like but I drank it. So, he said they would come and pick me today.
”At about 7p.m. three Boko Haram (members) came with a male and a female. They were also recruited for the mission like me.
“We spent one and a half days on the road to Maiduguri. It was when we got to Maiduguri that they strapped the bombs on our bodies. At that moment I knew that I was going to die, so I started crying.
”I was watching when the first bomber, a female, detonated her explosive close to a military checkpoint which killed no one but herself. The second, a male, was killed by the military before he could detonate his.
“At that time something told me to remove my own IED and surrender which I did. I was surrounded by soldiers and policemen and I fainted.
”When I woke up, I discovered that one of the policemen at the checkpoint was a brother of my mother’s. I think that was the reason I survived,’’ the suspect said.
Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, said the suspects were being de-radicalised at the military detention facility.
“We have quite a number of them here in our facility. We have been profiling them and making them feel comfortable.
“So far, from their testimonies, they usually tell us that they were brainwashed by some sort of charms to commit suicide,” Irabor said.