Wednesday, August 13, 2014 3:47 pm
Since 2010 when the founder of the Boko Haram sect, Mohammed Yusuf, died in the custody of security forces, the sect’s mode of unleashing terror on Nigerians has evolved. The world took notice of the terrorist sect when it set off its first vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, IED, in the 2011 attack on the United Nations headquarters in Abuja.
That vehicle-bomb attack clearly marked Boko Haram’s first lethal operation against Western interests. At least 23 people were killed, and more than 80 others injured in the attack. A series of attacks by the group on harpless Nigerians and security personnel and facilities alike with IEDs soon followed, including the bombing of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters. Recent atrocities include the recent twin-bombing in Nyanya, about 16 kilometres to the Federal Capital City centre where over 70 persons lost their lives with more than 200 others critically wounded.
This new mode of attack followed the group’s previous attacks on far-flung security outposts and military formations. However, in those attacks, only security operatives and formations were targets. This terror mode evolved with the sect focusing attention on soft targets, especially school children and market women. Hundreds of school children were ruthlessly murdered while in school and at night while sleeping in their dormitories.
The sect’s trend of hitting at soft targets peaked with the recent audacious abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, in the southern part of Borno State. Soon after this, the sect again shifted its tactics, and appears to have settled for the use of female suicide bombers to unleash untold terror on Nigerians.
Recently, three women – Hafsat Usman Bako, Zainab Idris and Aisha Abubakar – were arrested by security operatives following a recent bombing attempt on 301 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Gombe State. The attempt was carried out by a suspected female bomber who blew herself up in the process.
The leader of the arrested suspected female terrorists, Hafsat Usman Bako, was said to have been married to a member of the Islamic sect who was killed by security forces. She continued her relationship with the sect and soon became a recruiter for the sect, specialising in surreptitious recruitment of female members into the sect’s fold, as claimed by security officials.
“The arrested trio suspects were luring ladies, especially widows and young girls, by enticing them with male suitors who are mainly members of the Boko Haram sect, for marriage. Before their arrest, they were on a mission to take additional briefing from the leadership of the terror group,” defence officials stated in a press release.
The arrest of the three suspected female terrorists marked the discovery of an existing female wing of the dreaded Boko Haram sect. As Nigerians grappled with this new discovery and its implications in the ongoing war on terror, another female, a 10-year-old would-be suicide bomber, was also arrested shortly before another female suicide bomber blew herself up at Northwest University in Kano, killing six people in the fourth of such attacks within the same week, all involving female suicide bombers.