Africa  

Held in Cameroon, would-be bomber claims to be Boko Haram hostage

PHOTO: www.smh.com.au

PHOTO: www.smh.com.au

A would-be suicide bomber arrested in northern Cameroon wearing an explosives belt told investigators she was one of 219 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014, a regional official told AFP Saturday.

The young woman was one of two would-be bombers who were arrested in Cameroon’s Far North on Friday, each of whom was wearing a belt packed with 12 kilos (26 pounds) of explosives, regional governor Midjiyawa Bakari said.

“Two suicide bombers were arrested by members of Limani’s vigilance committee,” he said of a town close to the Nigerian border.

“Each of them was carrying 12 kilos of explosives… (and) was looking for somewhere to blow themselves up” during the Easter weekend.

During questioning, one of them said she was “one of the girls kidnapped from (Chibok in) Nigeria, but we are treating this statement with caution,” he said, saying the matter would be “clarified”. Such would-be attackers “are often drugged and can say anything,” he noted.

The two were taken for investigation by the Cameroonian contingent of the five-nation force set up to fight Boko Haram that also includes Nigeria, Benin, Chad and Niger.

In total, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14, 2014 as they were preparing for end-of-year exams in the remote northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok in an event which sparked international outrage.

Fifty-seven managed to escape within hours of the attack, but there has been no news about the remaining 219 still held in captivity.

Boko Haram has carried out suicide bombings often using female bombers and girls as part of its more than six-year armed campaign to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

The violence has claimed 17,000 lives and displaced 2.6 million from their homes.

rek/mc/hmw/mt



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