Resurgence Of Suicide Bombing

Resurgence Of Suicide Bombing

Residents of Borno State, North East Nigeria, were on June 29, 2024 reminded that despite efforts by the security agencies, the dark days of suicide bombing are still with them. This reminder came in the guise of three female suicide bombers who detonated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in strategic locations, killing 32 persons, while 52 others were injured. They targeted a wedding, a funeral and a hospital in coordinated attacks, disguising them as wedding and funeral guests to gain access to the venues.

More shocking is the report that one of them had a child strapped on her back who was killed after the bomb went off. Shortly after the female bombers carried out their dastardly act on innocent wedding guests in Gwoza town, others detonated several IEDs at other locations in Pulka and Marrabban Gwoza, leaving their usual traces of tears, sorrow and blood.

While the recent attacks have attracted global outrage and outright condemnation, President Bola Tinubu, in his reaction, described the incident as “a desperate act of terror and clear manifestation of the pressure mounted against terrorists and the success achieved in degrading their capacity to launch offensives”.

Two days before the attack in Borno, the Director of Defence Media Operations of the Nigerian Army, Major General Edward Buba, while addressing journalists, said security forces had greatly degraded the terrorists.

However, the resurgence of suicide bombings in Borno has raised significant concerns about the security situation in the region, questioning claims by the government and military that the Boko Haram insurgency and other acts of terrorism have been degraded. About a decade ago, suicide bombing was a thorn in government’s flesh when the Boko Haram menace reared its ugly head in the North East until military operations decapacitated the insurgents.

While suicide bombing in the North East, coupled with banditry, kidnapping, farmers/herders’ clashes and other forms of criminality in other parts of the country, worrisome, more disturbing is how girls and young women, considered as the weaker sex, have been coerced into this unwholesome act, making it very dangerous.

Last month, security operatives in Katsina State reportedly apprehended a woman, identified as Aisha Abubakar, for transporting ammunition to terrorists. She was said to have initially denied involvement but later confessed to transporting the ammunition to the terrorist group from Nassarawa State.

According to 2017 research by The Combating Terrorism Centre, an academic institution at the United States Military Academy in West Point, Boko Haram terrorists have used more than 200 female suicide bombers between 2014 and 2017 to carry out attacks. In 2019, the sect carried out 11 suicide bombing attacks, resulting in 68 deaths. Four of the bombings were carried out by females, and males carried out seven.

Also, on June 17, 2019, three suicide bombers, two girls and a boy, killed 30 people and injured 39 others in Borno State. On January 30, 2020, two suicide bombers detonated explosives in the Muna Galti area of Maiduguri (Borno state), killing five people and wounding several others.
Between 2012 and 2019, Boko Haram recruited and used girls to carry out attacks, raped and forced them to marry members against their wishes, among other grave violations. The use of women and girls to commit these heinous acts reached a crescendo within these years, while from 2020 to 2023, the North East region recorded a significant reduction in attacks until they struck again last week!

It is rather unfortunate that despite all measures being put in place to secure the lives of residents, the audacity to unleash terror on innocent citizens has continued unabated. The recent attack on Gwoza was said to have been carried out despite military operatives’ presence in the area.

This newspaper is worried that despite the government’s efforts, the activities of insurgents have refused to be effectively checked. Why women and girls are strategically used as suicide bombers remains a source of concern, as it has continued to create suspicion among the public.

There are many theories as to why these merchants of death strategically use women and young girls. One is the fact that women are less likely to be suspected, and as such, the onslaught of Boko Haram is further sustained using this strategy.
Again, some of these women are either hypnotised or made to believe that they have no choice, especially with a promise of ‘paradise’. The recent resurgence of female suicide bombings in the Northeast should be a source of serious concern to everyone following its destabilising effect in the northern region.

We cannot deny the fact that terrorism, which has metamorphosed into all sorts of vices such as banditry and kidnapping, has led to food inflation in the country, as farmers can no longer go to their farms for fear of losing their lives. This newspaper is of the view that the government and its agencies need to go back to the drawing board, engage stakeholders from the region to counter this growing threat and prevent more young girls and women from being recruited or forced into committing such brutality.