Portrait of a brave dog that gave its life to save others from Boko Haram suicide bomber at a wedding
From TIMOTHY OLANREWAJU, Maiduguri
“Teacher;” that was the name its owner gave the dog for its unusual instinct in accomplishing and even surpassing task given to it. Last Sunday, dog ‘teacher’ rose to the occasion like a brave warrior, chose to die to save the lives of many people from a Boko Haram suicide bomber at a wedding in a remote community in Borno.
Four female suicide bombers had attacked some communities at the outskirts of Maiduguri, Borno’s capital early Sunday morning, detonated explosive devices strapped to their bodies. Happily, only the bombers were killed in the explosions though reports indicated that one of the bombers targeting a crowded ceremony at Ariri village in Jere Local Government, was prevented by a dog, forcing the bomber to blow up herself outside the wedding venue, killing the dog too. This prompted Saturday Sun to visit the community where the brave dog once lived, to find its owner and to learn how the dog saved the lives of the people. Our discoveries were startling!
On the trail of heroic ‘teacher’
Ariri village also known as Bulama Belubelu mostly occupied by peasant farmers, is tucked between the desert-prone central zone of Borno and arid zone of the north, some 25 kilometers from Maiduguri, the state capital. Once attacked by Boko Haram, the community appeared overshadowed by the towering image of the capital city with no basic amenities. Yet, the people carry on with their daily activities not perturbed by their lacks but rather maintain close relationship in the community. How did the dog encounter the female suicide bombers? A witness provided an insight.
A near tragic wedding
A wedding which had commenced since Saturday continued till the early hours of Sunday when a teenage girl suddenly appeared, begging to be let into the expansive compound, where the merriment was going on, Hajara, a middle-aged woman told Saturday Sun in front of the compound. “She was begging for water and wanted to enter the compound but mama said no, we don’t know her but she kept pestering us. Then Mama threatened to call Civilian JTF and she left immediately. It was then the dog started following her and barking repeatedly.
Battle of life
Dog Teacher never gave up pursuing the suicide bomber up till the back of the community near a massive building belonging to the Shehu of Borno. Traditional leader of Ariri village, Bulama Usman Madu said the dog kept pursuing the bomber and at a point attempted to grab the wrapper of the female bomber. “The suicide bomber was still trying another strategy to return to the wedding venue or another crowded area but the dog didn’t give her a breathing space. It was then she denoted the explosive devices, killing herself and the lovely dog. We are glad the dog did that,” Bulama explained.
Dog Teacher, a companion, brave animal – Owner
Alhaji Malum, a farmer described his dog as his best companion. “I have other animals including rams and cows but the dog was my best companion. I miss it a lot,” Malum stated. But why did the owner name the dog ‘teacher’ in the first place?
“The dog was very sharp and will go extra miles in doing better than I sent it to do. Often times, I learnt from its smartness. So I decided to name it teacher. To me, Teacher was more than a dog,” he explained. He said he was more convinced to give the dog the name after watching an Indian film with similar smart dogs that always helped the family accomplish difficult tasks including locating places. He said the dog has been with him for over two years.
Malum says he misses his brave dog, adding that he often dreamt of the dog. “I see the dog in my sleep but sadly when I wake up, I won’t see the dog alive as it was in the past. I miss Teacher a lot,” he said. He vowed to get another dog soon. Other residents like Malam Modu paid glowing tributes to Dog Teacher, describing it as “saver of life.”
As this reporter meandered through the bumpy Ariri road back to Maiduguri, it was glaring the community missed an animal who gave its life to save others.