The Teen Girls Who Defied Boko Haram

In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014. Zahra'u Babangida, a 13 year-old girl arrested with explosives strapped to her body in Kano on Dec. 10, 2014. following a double suicide bombing, seen at the police headquarters in Kano, Nigeria. A 13-year-old says her father gave her to Boko Haram extremists and that she was arrested after refusing to explode a suicide bomb in Kano, Nigeria's second largest city in the north. (AP Photo)

At the The New York Times, Dionne Searcey reports on teen girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria to become suicide bombers for their cause. Unwilling to hurt and kill innocents, these girls β€” some as young as 13 years old β€” bravely defied the militants and sought help from citizens and soldiers alike to remove the bombs strapped to their bodies before anyone could be harmed.

Aisha, 15, fled her home with her father and 10-year-old brother, but Boko Haram caught them. The fighters killed her father and, soon after, she watched them strap a bomb to her brother, squeeze him between two militants on a motorbike and speed away.

The two militants returned without him, cheering. Her little brother had blown up soldiers at a barracks, she learned. The militants told her not to cry for him. β€œHe killed wicked people,” they told her.

Later, they tied a bomb on her, too, instructing her to head toward the same barracks.

Like some of the other girls, Aisha said she had considered walking off to an isolated spot and pressing the detonator, far from other people, to avoid hurting anyone else. Instead, she approached the soldiers and persuaded them to remove the explosives from her body, delicately.

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