A 13-year-old girl has accused her father of giving her to Nigeria’s Boko Haram group that ordered her to explode a suicide bomb in Kano city.
The girl said she and two other females were sent to carry out an attack on a textile market but after the other detonated their bombs, she decided not to complete the mission.
Police Superintendent Adenrele Shinaba said on Wednesday that the girl left her suicide vest on the seat of a taxi that took her to the hospital for treatment of her wounded leg after shrapnel hit her in the market bombing. The taxi driver alerted police who then arrested her.
The girl told a news conference on Wednesday night that her captors asked if she wanted to go to paradise and, when she said yes, explained she would have to be a suicide bomber.
“When I was told I would have to die to enter paradise, that I would have to explode a bomb and die, I said I cannot do it,” she said.
When they threatened to kill her, she allowed them to strap her into a vest primed with explosives, saying “I was afraid to be buried alive”.
Father at large
The girl said she saw many people being buried alive at the Boko Haram camp where her father took her in Bauchi state, east of Kano.
Police said the girl would remain in custody while investigations continued and that they had been unable to find her father, who the girl said belongs to Boko Haram.
Police said the attack on the textile market on December 10 killed four people and wounded seven, including the girl.
The West African nation’s home-grown Boko Haram group attracted international condemnation when its fighters kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from a boarding school in northeast Chibok town in April. Dozens escaped but 219 remain missing.
Thousands of people have been killed and 1.6 million driven from their homes in the five-year-old uprising to create an Islamic state in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation of 160 million people divided between mainly Muslims in the north and Christians in the south.