Teen Forced To Go On Suicide Mission By Boko Haram Refuses To Bomb Refugee Camp

| by Michael Doherty
Boko Haram hostages are released in CameroonBoko Haram hostages are released in Cameroon

A teenage girl who was strapped with explosives and sent by an extremist group to kill as many people as possible in a refugee camp in northeast Nigeria took the explosive vest off of her body and ran away as soon as she left her captors' sight. The girl was held captive for months by extremist group, Boko Haram. On Feb. 9, two other bombers who were in captivity with the girl carried out their attacks, killing 58 people at Dikwa refugee camp.

The girl tearfully recounted to the local self-defense forces how she was afraid of going against the instructions of her kidnappers, but even more afraid that if she carried out the attack she might kill her father who was inside the camp, according to The Associated Press. 

"She said 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," Modu Awami, a self-defense fighter who questioned the girl told AP.

According to Algoni Lawan, a spokesman for the Ngala local government, the young girl was just one of thousands held captive by Boko Haram for months. The girl reportedly tried to convince her two companions to abandon the bombing as well, but could not convince them to run away.

Boko Haram, who BBC reports was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government in 2013, believes in a version of Islam that does not allow Muslims to participate in Western social and political life, including voting and receiving a secular education. The group attacked numerous schools in Nigeria, and according to Amnesty International, has kidnapped more than 2,000 children. Boko Haram has killed 20,000 people since 2009, AP reports.

​The girl who fled from Boko Haram is in custody and has given information to officials about other planned bombings.

On Feb. 11, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. strongly condemns the bombings and remains committed to assisting those affected by the conflict and providing greater protection for civilians.

Source: AP, BBC / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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