It was all happening so fast. After being kidnapped by Boko Haram this year, Hadiza was confronted by a fighter in the camp where she was being held hostage. He wanted to “marry” her. She rejected him.
“You’ll regret this,” the fighter told her.
A few days later, she was brought before a Boko Haram leader. He told her she would be going to the happiest place she could imagine. Hadiza thought she was going home. He was talking about heaven.
They came for her at night, she said, grabbing a suicide belt and attaching it to her waist. The fighters then sent her and the 12-year-old girl out on foot, alone, telling them to detonate the bombs at a camp for Nigerian civilians who have fled the violence Boko Haram has inflicted on the region.
“I knew I would die and kill other people, too,” Hadiza recalled. “I didn’t want that.”
Northeastern Nigeria, now in its eighth year of war with Boko Haram, has become a place afraid of its own girls.