58 killed in refugee camp suicide bomb blasts
Originally published in Christian Today
A young Nigerian girl, packed with explosives around her body and sent on a mission to suicide-bomb a refugee camp, tore off her vest and ran away from her handlers to avoid taking part in the attacks, according to reports.
Nigerian authorities, however, said two other young Nigerians managed to walk into the crowd of hundreds of people at Dikwa refugee camp in northeast Nigeria and blew themselves up, killing 58 people and wounding 78 others last week, the Associated Press reported.
The United States strongly condemned the latest bombings on the refugee camp, which was allegedly carried out by the Boko Haram extremist group.
Mark Toner, spokesman for the US State Department, said in a statement that “the US remains committed to assisting those afflicted by the conflict and supports efforts to provide greater protection for civilians and the regional fight against terrorism.”
According to self-defence fighter Modu Awami, the third bomber, about 14 years of age, confessed that “she was scared because she knew she would kill people.”
“But she was also frightened of going against the instructions of the men who brought her to the camp,” said Awami, who helped question the girl, according to AP.
“She confessed to our security operatives that she was worried if she went ahead and carried out the attack that she might kill her own father, who she knew was in the camp,” Algoni Lawan, a spokesman for the Ngala local government area also told the AP.
Lawan said the girl was among the thousands who were held captive for months by the extremist group.
Awani said the teenager had tried to convince her companions to abandon the mission but failed. She also corroborated her story by leading the soldiers to the unexploded vest.
Awami said the girl has given officials information about other planned bombings by the Boko Haram.
Satomi Ahmed, chairperson of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, said the information given by the girl has prompted them to tighten security at the camp, which holds some 50 000 people who have fled Boko Haram’s Islamic uprising.
Boko Haram has killed more than 20 000 people, made 2.5 million homeless and spread across Nigeria’s borders. They have also kidnapped thousands of people.
The increasing number of suicide bombing by girls and children have raised fears that the extremists are turning some captives into weapons, according to Fox News.
“An army bomb disposal expert has said that some suicide bombs are detonated remotely, so the carriers may not have control over when the bomb goes off,” Fox News said, citing the AP report.
Awami said it is still difficult to account the number of fatalities in the latest bombings as some bodies have been mangled.
“Women, children, men and aged persons all died,” he said. “I cannot say the exact number as some cannot be counted because the bodies were all mangled.”