Two teenage female suicide bombers were on Saturday night shot dead by troops as they made a futile attempt to sneak into Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, wearing explosive vests hidden under their clothes, officials said.
A top military official informed PREMIUM TIMES that the deafening explosion that resonated in most part of Maiduguri at about 9 p.m. on Saturday was as a result of the safe detonation of the explosive vests retrieved from the bodies of the dead girls. They were both in their late teens.
“It happened at about 8.45 p.m., when two female suicide bombers, about 18 years of age, attempted to enter Maiduguri through Umarari in Molai General area about 9km to Maiduguri township”, said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“They were sighted by the Civilian-JTF and consequently shot dead by security personnel on duty at the area.
“No other loss of life or injury was recorded. The police EOD (explosive ordinance department) team was mobilized to the scene to render the unexploded IED safe, while normalcy has been restored to the area.”
Hours before the interception of the two suicide bombers, troops of the Nigeria Army had gunned down a Boko Haram kingpin during an operation that led to the rescue of 211 civilian captives from a Boko Haram den.
The spokesperson of the Nigeria Army, Sani Usman, confirmed the development in a statement he sent to the media.
“Following reported sighting of Boko Haram terrorists scavenging in some villages in northern Borno State, troops of 22 Brigade Garrison, Operation LAFIYA DOLE in conjunction with Civilian JTF, on Saturday embarked on fighting patrol to Cingal, Murye and Mala Maja villages and cleared them of the terrorists”, the brigadier general said.
“During an encounter, the troops neutralised one Boko Haram terrorist and recovered 11 bicycles. The patrol team also rescued 211 civilians held captive by Boko Haram terrorists at Murye and Mala Maja village.
“In addition, the patrol team escorted 2 heavy duty trucks and 18 pickup vans to recover Internally Displaced Persons’ foodstuff from Mala Maja.
“The rescued persons are currently being screened”.
Suicide bombing by teenage girls has been a major strategy of the Boko for about two years. Over 200 such teenage girls have lost their lives helping Boko Haram convey their lethal weapons to attack both military and civil populations around north-east Nigeria. Sadly, less than ten of them survived the deadly mission.
It has also been observed that most the female suicide bombers were deployed in twos.
One of the girls that recently reneged on the mission by refusing to detonate her explosive told security operatives that they were made to believe that the explosives would not harm them. She said they were told that they would disappear to a safe haven where they would be married to handsome husbands of their choice and then live an eternal life of bliss and happiness.