Would-be suicide bomber claims to be missing Chibok girl | News | DW | 27.03.2016
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Would-be suicide bomber claims to be missing Chibok girl

A teenager arrested with an explosives belt in Cameroon has claimed to be one of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram extremist group in 2014. Cameroonian and Nigerian authorities are investigating.

The girl, about 15 years old, was arrested on Friday by local security forces in northern Cameroon along with another girl. Each was wearing 12 kilograms (26 pounds) of explosives.

Military and local government officials said the teenager claimed she was one of about 270 girls abducted by Boko Haram from a boarding school in the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok in April 2014.

Idrissou Yacoubou, the leader of a self-defense group in Limani, Cameroon, told The Associated Press that the girl had turned herself in before exploding the belt.

"The girl looked tired, malnourished and psychologically tortured and could not give us more details about her stay in the forest and how her other mates were treated," he said.

While about 50 of the girls managed to escape within hours of the abduction, nearly two years have gone by without any word of the fate of the 219 remaining Chibok schoolgirls.

The kidnapping prompted international outrage and the #bringbackourgirls campaign on social media.

Nigerian army patroling in Chibok, Borno State (c) picture-alliance/dpa/H. Ikechukwu

Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin are part of a joint force fighting Boko Haram

Chibok community to confirm claim

If confirmed, the development would give credence to a simmering concern Boko Haram is using the Chibok girls and other abducted people in suicide attacks. The terror group has carried out multiple suicide attacks in recent months using young girls and women.

Garba Shehu, spokesperson for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, told Reuters that two leaders from the Chibok community would head to Cameroon to talk with the girl and confirm her claim.

Boko Haram has terrorized Nigeria and neighboring countries in a six-year conflict that has claimed 17,000 lives and displaced at least 2.6 million people.

A five-nation African force has pushed back Boko Haram in some areas, but the group still holds territory and regularly conducts devastating attacks.

The Nigerian military has said at least 3,000 people have been freed from Boko Haram in recent months, including more than 800 hostages earlier this week.

The United States and France have deployed military advisers and special forces in the region to assist African forces.

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