A would-be teenage suicide bomber has said Boko Haram militants paid
her just 200 naira ($0.64) to blow herself up in a city in northeast
Nigeria.
In footage obtained by Sky News, the 14-year-old girl said the
militants had told her and a friend to detonate their explosive vests
in a “crowded place” in Maiduguri, the northeastern city that has been
at the epicenter of Boko Haram’s eight-year insurgency.
The girl added that she and her friend had worn the vests for three
days before going into the city center. The girl removed her vest
after being ordered to by police, but officers shot her friend dead
after she refused to do the same.
A 2016 UNICEF report found that a fifth of the suicide bombers
deployed by Boko Haram were children, and that girls made up 75
percent of the child bombers.
Boko Haram began launching attacks against Nigerian government and
civilian targets in 2009, with the aim of establishing a militant
Islamist caliphate in northeast Nigeria. The group, which has since
split into two factions, has perpetrated widespread violence in
Nigeria and neighboring countries, killing thousands and displacing
millions. The United Nations has warned that northern Nigeria is at
risk of famine, largely due to the impact of the insurgency.
The commander of Nigeria’s counter-insurgency operations, Major
General Lucky Irabor, told Sky News that young people like the
would-be bomber “are very unfortunate children, little girls, who have
been involved, who have been engaged to be the couriers of these
dastardly acts of the Boko Haram terrorists.”
A Nigerian military offensive, coupled with that of a regional joint
task force, has pinned Boko Haram back and reclaimed much of the
territory it once controlled in Nigeria, which was comparable to the
size of Belgium at the group’s violent peak in early 2015.
But Boko Haram militants continue to carry out guerrilla-style suicide
attacks, and the group is still holding the vast majority of the
Chibok girls in captivity. Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their
school in northeast Nigeria, 2014, sparking the global
#BringBackOurGirls campaign. But despite the international attention,
195 of the girls remain in captivity.

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