(AP) — A teenage girl strapped with explosives ran away from a crowded mosque this week, killing only herself and cementing suspicions that Boko Haram is using unwilling captives in its terror campaign in northeast Nigeria.
The girl took off after her companion blew up in an explosion that killed 30 people on Monday in Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeast Nigeria, witnesses and a mortuary worker said.
“In the confusion of the blast, the other girl just ran away and only exploded when she was far from the crowd,” said fishmonger Idi Idrisa.
It was unclear if the teenager fled in fright, fear or on purpose, but this and other bungled bombings have many believing that Nigeria’s home-grown Boko Haram Islamic extremist group is using some of its thousands of kidnap victims as unwilling weapons.
A military bomb disposal expert has told The Associated Press that most bombs carried by girls and women have remote detonation devices, meaning the carrier cannot control the explosion.
The U.N. children’s agency last month reported an “alarming spike” in suicide bombings by girls and women, saying the number of reported suicide attacks had jumped to 27 in the first five months of this year compared to 26 for all of last year.