ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — A Nigerian official says a girl suicide bomber who surrendered in Cameroon is not one of the 276 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from a school in the northeast Nigerian town of Chibok nearly two years ago, but is from a nearby community.
The official says Cameroonian authorities gave them the names of the girl and an older accomplice but are holding them for questioning about how the Islamic extremists operate. The official in Yaounde, the Cameroonian capital, is waiting for the girls to be handed over. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press on the sensitive matter.
The girl, who turned herself in on Friday with explosives strapped to her body, appeared to be heavily drugged and suffering injuries, Cameroonian officials said. She said she was from Chibok and appeared to be about 10 years old.
In Nigeria, Chibok Parents Association chairman Yakubu Nkeki said he is waiting to go to Cameroon to see the child. Nkeki’s niece was one of the youngest students abducted from a government boarding school in Chibok. She was 14 at the time of the mass kidnapping in the early hours of April 15, 2014. Dozens of the girls escaped on their own but 219 remain missing.
Boko Haram continues to kidnap even as Nigerian troops have rescued thousands from captivity in recent months. None has been from the Chibok school.
The failure of Nigerian officials and the military to rescue the girls promptly brought international condemnation and helped President Goodluck Jonathan lose in elections last year.
The Chibok kidnapping propelled Boko Haram into notoriety but Human Rights Watch said little has been done about another mass kidnapping, calling it “the largest documented school abduction.” Boko Haram kidnapped some 300 students aged 7 to 17 and 100 women from a school in northeastern Damasak town a year ago Monday, said the London-based body.
“Three hundred children have been missing for a year, and yet there has been not a word from the Nigerian government,” said researcher Mausi Segun.