A 13-year-old female suicide bomber, arrested after failing to detonate her deadly belt as two of her colleagues did at Kano’s Kwari textile market two weeks ago, has narrated how she was handed by her father to suspected Boko Haram jihadists, who indoctrinated her and others to carry out mass killings.
Zahharau Babangida spoke to journalists Wednesday, 14 days after police detained her as she sought medical help following the twin blasts by her two colleagues at the market.
Six persons, including the two suicide bombers, died in the attack, while seven others were injured, police said at the time.
Kano Police Commissioner, Aderele Shinaba, said after the attack that the girls arrived at the busy market pretending to be buyers of textile materials before detonating their explosives.
Speaking to journalists at the Kano Police headquarters Wednesday, Zahharau, the would-be third bomber, said she and the other girls were trained in a bush by heavily armed men who threatened to bury them alive if they turned down the mission.
Zahharau said she and her mother were taken to the location by her own father, who handed them over to people whom she described as being of different tribes and races, including both black and Arabs.
A native of Damaturu in Yobe State, Zahharau said she and her family lived in Kano for years before she was handed over to men in the bush, whom she said constantly preached to her and the other girls about suicide missions.
“I was in the bush when the people some who looks like Arabs and some huge black men told me that did I know what is suicide mission, that is one killing himself? I said no I don’t know, they explained it to me and said that if I did plus reciting Sura Albakara I will straight go to Paradise,” Zahharau narrated.
“I declined and told them I will not do it, they now told me that they would dig a hole and bury me alive because that is what they do to all women who refuse to adhere to their demands, and they said they meant what they said, I now complied,” she narrated.
Zahharau, who spoke in Hausa, said when she finally agreed to go on the suicide mission, she and the other two young girls were sent to Kano directly from the training location which she said she could not remember.
She said they were dropped at Kwari market by their guide who left them there.
“When we entered the market one among the three of us said, ‘ok let’s detonate the bombs but we should separate ourselves,” she narrated. “I still refused to follow them but because I was close to them when they blew up themselves I was injured and I quickly came to the road where I got Keke and asked him to take me to Dawanau.”
Dawanau is where Zahharau said she lived with her family.
When she arrived there, she located her house but said her female neighbours refused to accommodate her because their husbands were not at home.
As she continued to bleed, Zahharau said the man who rode her on Keke, a tricycle used for commercial transportation, asked if there was anybody to take her to hospital as she continued to bleed from her wounds.
“I was now taken to the hospital…and after arriving there the doctors were treating me when the Keke man quickly came in and asked me who was the owner of the bomb in his Keke, I said I owned it. That was how security personnel were invited and I was whisked away.”
Earlier, the Kano State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Shinaba who addressed journalists alongside the Director State Security Service, SSS, Bassey Itang, said one of the guides of Zahharau had been arrested.
He did not say what has happened to the father of the girl.
The police chief noted that the arrest of the teenager with one of her guides, now in police custody, was a great success because it led the police to other findings.