Gamboru Village And Tale of 3 Girls On A Suicide Mission
By (Blogger) Abdulkareem Haruna
Three beautiful girls in their early teens were woken from their sleep on a chilly harmattan night by the Boko Haram commanders.
It was md night. But regardless of the unfriendly weather condition, they must be prepared for their great mission which must be carried out on Tuesday 9 January, 2018, unfailingly.
From the past experiences and antecedents of various suicide bombings around Borno state, it usually takes at least a week to prime a young girl, or a pair of them or even a threesome, to carry out a suicide bombing attack in a particular location.
And it was already about a week since the last time Gamboru village mosque was attacked of which about a dozen worshippers were killed therein.
It probably had been "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar" all through last week as the vile-hearted bomb masters crowded around their transistor radio cheering as they catch the news from the BBC or VOA Hausa services, telling the story of how their teenage girls had carried out the attack on Gamboru village.
"Prepare three more girls for yet another attack on Gamboru in the next one week", Abubakar Shekau or some terror kingpin may have presumably instructed his bomb couplers and hypnotic masters.
So, these three beautiful young girls must be primed early enough to be able to accomplish the bestial mission.
They were selected few days to the mission. Some of their parents who were either adherent of Boko Haram may have willingly volunteered them; while other parents who were also abducted had to release their girls with a suppressed sorrow burning up their hearts - they dare not show their emotions.
Regardless of how they feel about it, the parents too had to corroborate the hypnotic master's deception that the girls were being prepared for a mission to what they called Gida Mai albarka (a blessed land, in Hausa), where they would be married to some handsome princes.
But the chosen girls could only make that happen when they press a button connected by some wire attached to a special protective vest (suicide belt) that would be strapped round their body. Once the piece of button was pressed they would disappear and find themselves being welcomed in their new homes on the 'blessed land'.
Their hair were neatly plaited, their faces made, beautiful local tattoos (known as lalle) have been used to ornament their hands and legs just like a bride in the northern Nigeria are made up on their wedding-day.
The innocent girls who were ignorant of the deadly nature of what they were about to carry out smiled happily amidst fake chant of ululation from the women.
By 3.30am the three phantom brides were ready. They do not need any baggage. All they had to carry was the explosives belt worn around their waists and covered by their overflowing hijjabs.
Three motorbike riders would then transport them to the outskirts of the village or town where they were to carry out the mission.
Their hearts beat fast because they saw the grief on the faces of their parents who knew that they would never set their eyes on their girls again.
The girls may have mistaken such grief for the normal emotions expressed by a mother when a bride is finally being taken to her husband's.
As the three girls clinged unto the bike riders who moved at neck breaking speed even in the dark hours of the night, one of the girls may have been reconstructing the events of the last few days and how she was being transported in a awkward manner to meet a husband she knew nothing about. Perhaps the cold attitude of her mother during the last hours of her departure may have stirred some curiosity on her to rethink the narratives being forced on them.
As the bike bumped their way through the dusty rough roads towards Gamboru, the tightness of the belt strapped around her body began to discomfort her.
She gradually eased one of her hands from around the bike rider to feel the suicide belt.
"But what could this belt laced with tins be", she may have begun to think. "Why must I wear this and be transported on a bike in the dead of the night without any of my bridal friends accompanying me, just to meet my husband? Could this be for real? Why was my mother wearing a long sorrowful face and avoiding to look at me when I was being taken away? And why is this bike rider not talking to me all through this journey?"
As these assumed thoughts came to her mind, tears began to form on her eyes. Her mouth sudden became dry, she could not even whet her throat with her saliva. The hot tears rolled down her cheeks. Her heart began to beat faster, suddenly she couldn't feel the cold weather any more. She was sweating!
The sudden brake applied by the biker jolted her back to consciousness, the bike rider was talking to her but she could not hear him.
"Are you listening to me?" He said with a stern voice as he tapped her shoulder forcefully. "I said you can now go and join your two colleagues over there"
He held her wrist with his right hand and felt her waist to be sure the belt was still intact.
"You can now go", he told her. "But don't forget what Mallam said. You know the consequences if you fail to press that button".
The girl nodded her head in affirmative response.
She clearly remembers what the Mallam told them.
Death would be the consequence of failing to press the button, and permanent forfeiture of their new husbands as well as opportunity to see their parents and siblings again.
As she walked up to meet the other girls who had also bid farewell to their bikers, she again used her hand to feel the belt on her body. She tried tugging at it and she noticed the belt had adjusted...
With the other girls, she noticed the two of them wearing some kind of calm look and a bit excited.
Something told her not to disclose her thoughts with them. They might not believe her. Days back they had been so excited about meeting their new husbands.
As they advanced towards Gamboru village, she informed them that she was instructed to take a different root. So she parted ways with the two others. A few yards away she stopped, pulled off her hijjab and began to fiddle with the straps....
The two other girls quicken their steps as they began to notice the silhouette of Gamboru village forming in the brightening darkness.
It was yet dawn and the mission must be carried out before daylight, they told themselves. They still have some hundreds of meters ahead.
About an hour later, they were still walking. The lazy sunlight was in yolky form gradually waking from its hours of sleep. But this time around, its services were not welcomed by the these two beautiful brides whose chances of connecting with their phantom grooms could be deemed by the brightness of light the rising sun was coming up with.
They kept walking.
Suddenly they began to hear distant voices.
"Hey you two there, stop at once".
It was the voice of soldiers guarding the outskirts of Gamboru. They had spotted them from a far.
The two girls looked at each other. Their minds began to beat fast. Are they about to miss the chance of getting to the 'blessed land'? Are they about to die? No! They must get to their destination and press the button, lest they risk never seeing their parents again. We must go on. No one should stop us; not even the soldiers.
"I said stop moving and raise up your hands", a soldier yelled in Hausa.
No! The girls told themselves. We must move on....
The first girl was still fiddling with the strap of the explosives belt when she suddenly heard sounds of gunshootings and a piercing voice of a female screaming and then everything went silent.
At that point, it suddenly dawned on her that her two colleagues must have been the ones shot at...There was no husband to meet or 'blessed land' to go. It was all an illusion and deception.
The straps suddenly came off and she gently peeled off the belt from around her body. Holding the device on her hands, the girl took a closer look at the cans of explosives and wires that connected them to the detonating button. She knew the device had nothing good to do with connecting her with her phantom husband. She looked around and hid it under some shrubs and began walking away towards Gamboru village.
"Hey stop there", a male voice yelled at her. She raises up her hands and waited for the person to come and get her.
A group Nigeria soldiers appeared.
And that ends the assumptive recreation of the narrative of this Blogger.
Spokesman of the Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, took over the narrative with a real life account of Tuesday morning happenstance in Gamboru village, 140km northeast of Maiduguri, Borno state capital.
"Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed around Gamboru Ngala have successfully averted what would have been a major devastating suicide attack carried out by three female Boko Haram terrorists against innocent citizens in Gamboru town in Gamboru Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State in the early hours of Tuesday", Colonel Nwachukwu, a deputy director army public relations.
"Two of the suicide bombers, strapped with suicide vests had attempted infiltrating Gamboru town at about 6.45 am when they were sighted by a joint patrol team of vigilant troops and Civilian JTF at Unguwar Yobe area shortly before entering the town.
"They were halted by the patrol team from a safe distance and were ordered to unstrap their suicide vests, to which they vehemently declined. All efforts and entreaties by the patrol team to make the suicide bombers remove their IED vests failed as the duo adamantly approached the troops armed with their IED vests. They were immediately neutralised by the troops, while the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team (EOD) safely unstrapped and detonated the suicide vests.
"A third female suicide bomber was detected and intercepted within the same general area and subsequently confessed to the joint patrol that she and the other two terrorists had been dispatched at about 3.30 am on Tuesday to unleash mayhem on Gamboru town.
"She also revealed the location she had hid her suicide vest and led the troops to recover it.
"The recovered vests and the surviving suicide bomber have been taken into custody for further interrogations.
"We call on the general public to be more alert and vigilant, while going about their daily activities in their various communities to detect suspicious persons and inform the security agencies accordingly".
Since 2015 when Boko Haram fighters resort to weaponise teenage girls as suicide bombers, more than a hundred girls have lost their lives carrying out such deadly mission.
Most of the few girls who were either intercepted or managed to back out of carrying out the attacks, gave a disturbing tale of how they were either deceived or forced to go on such fatal missions.