Boko Haram Widely Deploying Female Suicide Bombers

The head of the Nigerian Air Force has said that his warplanes have been able to incapacitate Boko Haram with a concerted bombing campaign according to local newspaper The Sun. Chief of Air Staff, Air Mar­shal Adesola Amosu said that the air force had inflicted considerable damage to Boko Haram militants  in the north-east of the country.  

This does not seem in keeping with the recent information coming out of Nigeria. Despite advances in several areas, such as the recapture of the town of Mubi in Adawama State and the return of their Emir, Alhaji Abubakar Isa a few days ago, Boko Haram have continued their campaign of terror. Over the last 12 months, Boko Haram has killed 10,000 people, a comparable number to the Islamic State.

Sen. Ahmed Zanna, who represents Nigeria's violence-plagued Borno state told NBC News: "The violence has become so bad that people don't have lives anymore. They cannot go to their farms, they cannot go to their businesses. It dominates people's lives every single day. They have no help from the army, the people who are supposed to protect them. They are scared, and that fear is real."

Indeed, they are ramping up their assaults. Two female suicide bombers were arrested in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State and a city that has seen a rash of attacks over the past few months.  One, arrested at the beginning of December, confessed to a Boko Haram plan that posted 50 female suicide bombers across Maiduguri ready to blow themselves up before the end of the year with the intention of killing 100,000 people.

Mia Bloom, of a Professor of the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, told Vice news that the recent epidemic of female suicide bombings in Nigeria could have been carried out by the kidnapped schoolgirls of Chibok.

Speaking as to why the girls might be acting in this way, she said "either because of brain washing, or because Boko Haram has humiliated them sexually, like with rape, so that there's no option but to become a suicide bomber because of the honor code in place in traditional Nigerian societies" 

For more information about the Sunni Islamist group wreaking havoc across Nigeria, see Clarion Project's Factsheet: Boko Haram: Nigeria's Islamist Group.