Nigerian Zahra’u Bangida, 14, claims her parents handed her over to radical Islamic group Boko Haram to be a suicide bomber. Authorities arrested her on December 10 after a double suicide attack killed ten people at a market in Kano, the largest city in northern Nigeria.
The young girl told police and the media her parents are Boko Haram sympathizers. They took her to a forest in Kano state, where the group hid to volunteer her services. Militants immediately jumped at the opportunity and asked her about suicide bombs.
“They said, ‘Can you do it?’ I said no,” she said. “They said, ‘You will go to heaven if you do it.’ I said ‘No I can’t.’ They said they would shoot me or throw me into a dungeon.”
Bangida felt she had no other choice but to participate in the bombing. Militants strapped explosives to her and other young girls before they were sent to the market. From Vanguard:
Zahra’u said she was injured when one of the girls detonated her bomb and then she fled the scene, ending up at a hospital on the outskirts of Kano where she was discovered to be carrying explosives.
Boko Haram has increasingly used female suicide bombers, including teenagers, as part of their five-year insurgency.
In October, Human Rights Watch (HRW) interviewed thirty females abducted by Boko Haram between April, 2013 – April, 2014. One girl told HRW the militants forced her to the front lines “to hold the bullets and lie in the grass while they fought.” Another militant told her “to kill one of the five captured civilian vigilantes,” but she could not go through with it.