NIGERIA – Boko Haram ‘using babies in suicide bombings’
Boko Haram has sunk to new depths of depravity. Female suicide bombers in Nigeria are now carrying babies to avoid detection.
In January two women detonated devices, killing four civilians as well as themselves and their babies in the town of Madagali. They were able to pass through a checkpoint because guards thought they were ordinary civilians as each woman was carrying a baby. Moments later, the two women detonated their explosives.
This was the second incident involving babies. Last November, a female suicide bomber carrying a baby on her back was shot by soldiers at a checkpoint, detonating her explosives and killing the woman and the baby.
Boko Haram has used scores of women and girls in suicide bombings, prompting suspicions some of them may have been kidnapped before being sent on their mission.
Officials have warned that the use of babies could be a sign of a new “dangerous” trend, as the incident happened only a few weeks after two teenage girls blew themselves up. This was also at a checkpoint, this time just outside the city of Maiduguri, and three civilians were wounded in the explosion. On New Year’s Eve, a 10-year-old girl was used in a suicide bomb attack in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri.
The north west of Nigeria, and particularly Borno State has been one of the most affected regions by Boko Haram. Madagali is considered to be at the heart of Boko Haram’s insurgency, which aims to establish an Islamic state in the country.
In recent months, the Nigerian government has been fighting the group in a major counter-offensive, recapturing much of their former territory. However, the insurgents have ramped up their suicide bombings in response. Suicide attacks on crowded areas such as markets and places of worship are common. Last year, 45 people were killed after suicide bombers detonated their belts in a busy market. Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency has killed more than 20,000 people, forced 2.6 million from their homes and created a massive humanitarian crisis. The Institute of Economics and Peace Labelled Boko Haram the world’s deadliest terrorist group.