Coordinator of National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri says security forces stopped a car in Kano’s neighbouring state of Katsina today and arrested three suspected Boko Haram members.
The group included one male and two girls, aged 18 and 10. The older two tried to flee, according to Omeri’s statement.
The “10-year-old…was discovered to have been strapped with an explosive belt,” he said.
The chilling trend of deploying young women and girls as bombers comes three-and-half months after Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from the remote town of Chibok in the northeast.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau boasted about the mass abductions in a video during which he threatened to sell the girls as slaves.
The Chibok abductions prompted a social media campaign that went viral and drew unprecedented global attention to Boko Haram’s extremist uprising, which the group says is aimed at creating a strict Islamic state in the mainly Muslim north.
In the weeks following the kidnappings, some prominent jihadi websites had posts condemning the Nigerian group’s extreme tactics.
Nigeria has repeatedly insisted that it knows where the girls are, while President Goodluck Jonathan and top military officials have suggested they will be brought home safely soon.
But little progress has been made in securing their release while the violence appears to be escalating across the north and centre of the country.
More than 2,000 civilians have been killed this year, making the first half of 2014 one of the deadliest stretches of the insurgency.
Attacks had been concentrated in the remote northeast, Boko Haram’s stronghold, but waves of strikes since April in major cities including the capital Abuja have underscored the grave threat the Islamists pose to Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and top oil producer. [Vanguard]