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9-year-old girl told to be suicide bomber, Pakistan police say

From Aliza Kassim, CNN
Nine year-old girl, Suhana, says she was kidnapped Sunday by two men with weapons and two women wearing burqas
Nine year-old girl, Suhana, says she was kidnapped Sunday by two men with weapons and two women wearing burqas
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The girl is kidnapped on her way to school and drugged, she says
  • She is given a suicide vest and told to blow herself up at a checkpoint, police say
  • Instead, she shouts and lets troops take the vest off her
  • There have been previous cases of child suicide bombers in Pakistan, but rarely so young

(CNN) -- A nine-year-old girl who says she was kidnapped by militants in Pakistan and told to be a suicide bomber was reunited with her parents Tuesday, police said.

The girl, Suhana, was kidnapped on Sunday by two men with weapons and two women wearing burqas, she told police. Police did not release her last name.

She was on her way to school when they seized her and drugged her, she said in a news conference broadcast by CNN affiliate GEO TV.

Suhana was driven to the Darra Islam checkpoint in Pakistan's Lower Dir district and "told to detonate a suicide vest that the abductors had put on her," district police officer Saleem Marwat told CNN.

"Instead of detonating the jacket, after getting out of the car, the child started shouting and running towards the paramilitary frontier corps soldiers stationed at the... post," the officer said.

She was arrested, her explosive vest was taken off and she was placed in custody, he said.

The Pakistani Taliban have used children as suicide bombers before, but there have been few cases, if any, of children as young as nine.

"Instead of detonating the jacket, after getting out of the car, the child started shouting and running towards the paramilitary frontier corps
--Saleem Marwat, police officer
RELATED TOPICS

Pakistani and U.S. officials alleged in 2009 that a top Taliban leader in Pakistan was buying and selling children for suicide bombings.

Pakistan's military released a video showing children going through exercises in training for their attacks.

Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud then sold the children to other Taliban officials for $6,000 to $12,000, Pakistani military officials said.

Meshud was killed in an apparent U.S. drone strike in August 2009.

As recently as April, a Pakistani teenager named Umar Fidai said teens were being trained in the country's tribal region to stage attacks.

Fidai was arrested alive after the suicide bombing at a Sufi shine in April killed at least 41 people and wounded more than 100. The blast occurred in Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab province.

Fidai said in TV interviews he got suicide bombing lessons for six months, including training to use pistols, grenades and a suicide jacket. He said an Afghan Taliban leader named Mullah Sangeen was in charge of the training camp.

CNN's Nic Robertson and journalist Nasir Habib contributed to this report.

 
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