Nigerian woman says Boko Haram gave her 50p to carry out suicide bombing attack

'They said if we press the button, the bomb would explode and we will automatically go to heaven'

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 08 February 2017 13:45
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A soldier walks past a checkpoint in the Boko Haram stronghold of Borno State, Nigeria
A soldier walks past a checkpoint in the Boko Haram stronghold of Borno State, Nigeria

An 18-year-old Nigerian woman has said the Islamist terror group Boko Haram gave her the equivalent of 50p to carry out a suicide bombing attack.

Nigerian troops saved the life of the young woman, who was strapped with explosives, and killed another suicide bomber in the northeastern city of Maiduguri on Tuesday.

“They gave us N200 [51p] each which they said we should use to buy food for ourselves," Amina told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

She said it took the pair three days to get to Maiduguri by motorcycle, where they were instructed "to detonate our explosives any where we saw any form of gathering."

She added: “They said if we press the button, the bomb would explode and we will automatically go to heaven."

Nigeria finds schoolgirl abducted by Boko Haram

Soldiers spotted the two women moving towards a large petrol station and ordered them to stop, police spokesman Victor Isuku said. When they continued, they shot the other woman and Amina surrendered.

Both women were wearing jackets laden with explosives, but soldiers were able to disarm them.

Amina told NAN she was abducted two years ago by Boko Haram members in the eastern town of Madagali, before being taken to Sambisa Forest in northeast Nigeria.

She described how she felt preparing for the attack: “I was scared, so I told them that I could not detonate any explosive. So, they said if Zainab [the other bomber] detonated her own, it would serve the purpose.

“On our way to Maiduguri, we encountered the military and they were shooting. I was very scared and the people that brought us ran away."

Since surrendering, Amina is now under investigation by the Nigerian army.

Nigerian troops and self-defense civilian fighters have prevented dozens of suicide bombings in recent months through increased security at entries to cities and towns, along with body searches outside targets like marketplaces and mosques.

Still, dozens have been killed in recent bombings.

Boko Haram has used scores of women and girls as young as seven as suicide bombers, raising fears that the extremists are turning some of their thousands of kidnap victims into weapons.

Officials have warned the group are now using female suicide bombers with babies to avoid detection.

The military campaign to curb the group's seven-year Islamic uprising has killed more than 20,000 people and left 2.6 million homeless.

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