Six Years After, Borno Mother Still Mourns Her Son Who Died Saving Others from Boko Haram Suicide Bomber

In 2017,  Yakubu Fanami, a young mosque guard in Borno State, prevented a female Boko Haram suicide bomber from killing tens of worshipers. Brazenly, he paid the price so others could live.

The suicide bomber was heading toward the congregation on that fateful day, January 25, 2017. But the young Yakubu stopped her from gaining access to the mosque. The suicide bomber, however, detonated the explosive and bombed herself up with Yakubu. But other worshippers were saved.

FLASHBACK: Yakubu, The Brave Borno Student Who Died For Others To Live

At that time, the deceased was an SS1 student in a secondary school at Kalare, Borno.


The Scoop Storytelling Initiative visited Yakubu’s mother, Altine Musa and she sobbed as she recollects the nice memories she had had with her son.

“He went to pray at the Friday mosque that fateful day,” she recalled. We were at home when we heard a deafening sound of a detonated bomb.”

“I rushed outside, telling people that my Yakubu is there at the mosque and those people held me back, saying I can’t go further.

“Later, I was told of his demise and they had to ask me if I was ready to see his corpse and I said yes,” Altine added.

She described her son as one of the most generous people she had ever known, saying his willingness to help people around him always awed her. 


The chief Imam at the Friday mosque where the incident happened, Mallam Muhammad Musa, said no one had ever imagined a mosque guard like Yakubu could die for others.

“We never imagined him giving out his life to protect them,” said the chief Imam. “That was a boundary everybody was shocked he could cross.”

“Having died in this course, he has died a martyr and Allah will surely reward him,” the Imam added. 

He, however, accused the government of neglecting them. Musa said there was no intervention by the government to help the victims of the bombing.


“We were all outside when the girl suicide bomber appeared wearing a long hijab (veil) . She was asked by one of the elderly guards to lift her hijab and reveal what she was holding but she refused,” Umar Ali, a survivor and victim of the attack, recounts. 

“Yakubu then carried a stick and attempted to hit her with it which scared her and they both exploded,” he added. “The elderly guard has now lost an eye from the attack. The explosion threw us in different directions but Yakubu died there instantly.”

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Saleh Amin, Director of Darrusalam Academy, where the deceased was once a student, described him as a “regular and cooperative student.”

He said the news of his death was a shock to the whole school. 

“It’s exceptional for you to sacrifice your life for others. Nobody expected him to go to that extent,” Amin said.

Fatima Sulaiman, one of the teachers at the school, said Yakubu carried her eight-month-old baby a day before he died. 

“I and nannies remember him carrying my eight-month-old baby boy that time. When we received news of his death, we couldn’t teach, even the students were crying,” she said.

Yakubu’s friend Abduljabbar Abba said he wasn’t at school at the time. “Someone came to inform me of his demise and I still remember how shocked I was by his sudden death,” he said.


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