West & Central Africa

Chibok survivor of ‘female suicide bombers’ describes how he survived bomb blast

In a face-to-face encounter with a Boko Haram Female suicide bomber in Chibok, Daniel Maiva narrowly survived a bomb blast. He talked to Global Christian News about the attack.

The village was of Chibok was traumatized by the attack and abductions by the Islamist terrorist group and at that
time, the security in Chibok was made up of few policemen and small team of soldier. The situation was so volatile that the village had to set up its own vigilante force made up of hunters and all the able-bodied men in Chibok. They took turn to keep watch at nights while women and children would go up a little hill at nights to sleep, not minding possibilities of snake bites.

Daniel Maiva was part of the vigilante that kept watch at night in Chibok.

In January 2016, Daniel was in the Chibok market and came face to face with a female suicide bomber. He survived the bomb blast. News reports say 14 people were killed and 30 people were injured, 21 were critically wounded in a bomb blast in Chibok that fateful day.

Three separate suicide bomber attacked Chibok, one of the attackers targeted a security checkpoint while the other were two female bombers at a local market. A suicide bomber triggered the third while being pursued by residents, News reports say.

Most of the casualties were from the market, where 11 people were killed,” said Dazzban Mutah Buba, a medical worker in Chibok.

A report said the first bomber, a young boy, targeted a military checkpoint outside the town, detonated his explosives as soldiers were checking vehicles.

The second second blast was by a female bomber in the middle of the market, where Daniel Maiva was, talking to the suicide bomber, as traders were attending to customers. This blast drew a lot of attention. The villagers then noticed the third suicide bomber and tried to apprehend her. But she ran off, detonating her explosive.

Daniel, 45, father of four children, said: “It was last year 2016, on the 27th of January, on a market day, here in Chibok.

I woke up in the morning, prepared and went to the market as I usually do, where I have a small shop.”

He continued.

“When I got to the market… There were two girls, both were wearing the explosive devices tied around their bodies, wrapped around their waist. I did not know that, I bought a recharge card and started loading the scratch card number on my phone. I had just finished when one of the girls, the one that later detonated her bomb, came and asked me where she can get boiled eggs to buy,” Daniel said.

A little irritated at the question, Daniel said he turned to the girl and said, “‘Do I look like someone who sells boiled eggs?I pointed to a direction, ‘go there and ask and you will get them.’ I said. She was quiet, then the second question she asked was, ‘Okay, my phone has a problem, where can I get someone to repair it?’

“I said to her, ‘ask this man selling the recharge cards, maybe he knows something about it.”

After that, Daniel continued chatting to his friend and eventually they sat down on a bench to talk.

The girl, he said, sat beside him.

There were two of them, he said: “Both girls, I think will be about 25 years, the other may be a little younger, I can’t say, were wearing the hijab but the other girls was not talking, she didn’t say a word. Just this one close to me kept talking.” I thought I heard or felt a movement, am not sure and the girl talking to me then detonated her explosive. The explosion killed the other girl and eight people on the spot.”

“The explosion broke my legs, my hand and my collar bone. So many shrapnel were removed from my body. I blacked out. It was when I woke up in the hospital after multiple surgeries that what happened dawned on me. I kept wondering how a girl like that would have done such a thing. When she was talking to me I thought she was a nice person, covered in the hijab, I didn’t suspect anything and didn’t know that the explosives were tied around her.”

About 14 people died in the explosion, eight on the spot and six others died later.

Having had time to reflect on his miraculous escape, Daniel said he kept wondering how God had saved him: “It was not possible for me to have survived that explosion, sitting close to that suicide bomber. I am so surprised God showed His mercy and I am one of those that survived this bomb blast. It was a miracle.”

Expressing his gratitude to God, and reflecting on the situation in Chibok, Daniel said. “This happened even with the presence of security operatives in Chibok. I think it is very difficult to detect and stop a suicide bomber. But Chibok has been given a lot of attention since the abduction of the 276 school girls and the international attention it brought. The government secondary school which the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram burnt down after abducting the girls, is still being reconstructed. The dilapidated road is also being built and the town is beginning to get a new phase with some housing project being built by the Borno State government.”

Daniel appealed for prayer: “We only ask that you continue to pray for the release of thousands of people abducted by the Jihadist terrorist group. We in Chibok are traumatised and so also are many other Christian communities where hundreds have been abducted. We need your prayers.”