A few days ago, the BBC reported what many Nigerians have long suspected about the more than two hundred missing girls from a secondary school in CHIBOK, Borno State, for which the hashtag- “#BringBackOurGirls” went viral, when they interviewed some of the women rescued from captivity of the BOKO HARAM Islamic Fundamentalist Group.
Some of the women claimed that they were held in the same camp as some of the girls from Chibok, and that they had been indoctrinated and made to carry out killings on behalf of the group, without specifically stating how they were doing these. Many, who have been watching how the events have been playing out since the abduction of these girls more than a year ago, have wondered if these were not the same girls that are being unleashed on the areas under State Of Emergency, in the Northeastern part of Nigeria as FEMALE SUICIDE BOMBERS.
Before it became norm in Nigeria’s North East, Female Suicide Bombers were already in the news in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia (maybe a few in Syria) and other places where so called JIHADIST groups were locked in what seems like eternal battles against the government of the day which are sometimes supported by western powers. I wasn’t totally surprised that once the first female suicide bomber launched a successful attack on a military checkpoint, it will become norm because the activities of fundamentalist groups as well as that of intolerant religious fanatics, especially in Nigeria’s North is such that is mostly of a “copy cat” syndrome. All one needed to do was watch events unfold in tribal areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan and other areas of the world with a sizeable muslim population where the society live under a strict form of and adherence to the SHARI’A, to see such play out in Nigeria within days, weeks or months, even under circumstances that aren’t even as grievous (for lack of a better word) as the ones in those aforementioned places, like these things are done to get the attention of someone, or people of those places, with which they share sympathies and a form of solidarity.
I will start from the simplest. When there were protests in muslim countries outside of Africa over a cartoon strip done by a Danish cartoonist that many Muslims found offensive, Muslims in Nigeria’s north also protested, even with more gusto than those who had started it outside of Nigeria, burning down churches and causing destruction and mayhem enough to make anyone not conversant with the news think the cartoonist was Nigerian, or even African in the least.
It was while Nigerians were deluding themselves that there couldn’t be a Nigerian terrorist, seeing as we loved life so much, that the son of a Nigerian wealthy banker attempted to blow up an American bound airline with explosives tied to his underwear, having been radicalized in Britain, Yemen and probably in Nigeria (which of course people who should be in the know will be quick to deny the association), yet to some, even his failure was touted as truly in the Nigerian spirit of “chickening out” at the last minute to commit mass murder, because he fidgeted and failed to push through his plans, but it became clear to all, apart from the activities of Boko Haram that was simmering at the time, the role radicalized Nigerians were playing abroad, when two of her sons though born in the United Kingdom to Nigerian parents slaughtered a British soldier, LEE RIGBY in broad daylight right on the streets of London, all in the name of avenging on behalf of Muslims in the Arab World and Africa suffering “injustices at the hands of western invaders/crusaders” (conveniently forgetting that it was these so called “crusaders” who rescued Muslims from the hands of Christian overlords in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo and the likes in the 1990’s and that Iraqis celebrated the removal of the yoke of Saddam – and his sons – much later at the hands of the same western “crusaders”), and with increasing number of radicalized Nigerian Muslims and converts even of bourgeois families defecting from holidays in Dubai and pilgrimage in Mecca, to Syria and Iraq to “assist” the jihadi efforts in those places, it is only scary to imagine what will become of Nigeria when all that is being in the brew now becomes distilled enough for the tasting.
When last week it made the news that some people had been sentenced to death by a Shari’a Court in Kano, Northwest Nigeria for BLASPHEMY, in what seemed like dancing to the tune of a mob that had burnt down a court that attempted to shield the so called “offenders”, the mind of many was quickly cast back to Pakistan and Afghanistan were apart from the fact that it was the cause for the death of many religious and ethnic minorities, under the reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the tribal areas in Pakistan, had continued even under the new US-backed government in the former, with victims including a young imbecilic female accused of tearing the Qur’an, as with the unfortunate Nigerian in the same Kano that was beheaded and his head displayed for all to see for allegedly cleaning his buttocks with the part of a newspaper on which a verse from the Qur’an had been quoted.
With all these (amongst several other examples) in mind, it came therefore as no surprise to not a few Nigerians when Boko Haram launched attacks on the Nigerian state, again in mimicking what was happening in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and also in the decision of the group in aligning with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS just like Al-Shabab in Somalia has done, only that Boko Haram according to their recent video opted for a change of name (they had always never liked the name Boko Haram, infact they never claimed it, always ensuring to announce themselves as, in the Arabic – جماعة أهل السنة للدعوة والجهاد, which is – Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād, that is “Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad”, at the beginning of every of their broadcasts) to the ISLAMIC STATE IN WEST AFRICA.
When females became the choice of jihadists in carrying out suicide attacks in Afghanistan for instance though sparingly, the group in Nigeria, once they tasted it much later would not just let go. The female suicide bombers could reach places where their male counterparts couldn’t, especially as the men could be searched and were becoming easy targets of the security agencies who could sense how big their thin frame was under a bulging piece(s) of clothing and many times neutralized them before they succeeded in carrying out their nefarious acts. They have the advantage of the ability to hide explosive vests and belts under the usual coverings and veils allowed for muslim women in Nigeria, and moreso in the North and Northeast where the insurgency is rampant, and with few female security agents to search and vet them (as it is not allowed for males to pat down females), they could easily reach their targets to unleash mayhem to maximum heart shattering levels, especially in crowded places like markets, and on Fridays after the Juma’at service, and people were on their way to or from the mosques.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that females where now the suicide bombers of choice for the Boko Haram, the most disheartening has been the ages of these female suicide bombers, as girls as young as ten and twelve have been used by this group, and just like the girl that was strapped with a bomb by her father in Afghanistan, the Nigerian security agents also managed to rescue a young girl too who claimed she was sent by her parents, strapped with a bomb which failed to detonate, though her parents couldn’t be located. If this girl who had family was sent to do this by her father, one could only imagine the fate of those Chibok girls abducted late at night from their secondary school while they prepared for their school leaving certificate examinations, as well as other women and girls abducted on and at several occasions, who have no one in the group to plead their cause before their captors or attempt to have the heart to spare their own, which was even unlikely considering the case I had just mentioned. Though, several positions have been taken as to their whereabouts or what might have happened to them, many fear that they might have been at the end of suicide attacks in recent times, since their abduction, and forceful conversion to Islam, as many of them (especially those from Chibok, in Borno State, Northeastern Nigeria) were christians prior to their abduction.
In all of this darkness however, something very interesting happened last week, when a female suicide bomber appeared to have had a change of heart, and fled a few meters from her target after apparently moving into their midst, before detonating her device or rather had her device detonated which seemed more
plausible, considering that if she had changed her mind about killing people, them she might as well have saved herself by simply surrendering herself to the security agents, except also the explosive device might have been rigged or timed to explode at the time it did. The fact that some of these activities are caught on mobile phones by “who-knows-who” and shared online, and clandestinely among the populace of the affected states and outside of it, suggest that there might be someone following these female suicide bombers, who also might have with them the detonator to ensure that the “business” is carried out to the latter.
It also shows that though these females may have been indoctrinated, they might not have totally agreed to do this deadly bidding (especially considering that unlike their male counterparts who have a deluded hope of cavorting and having sex with seventy or so virgins – necessitating one male suicide bomber in Syria to “protect” his “tools” with a metal plate underneath his suicide vest against shattering from an explosion – that have neither been touched by Man or Jinn, in the hereafter, the female suicide bombers have absolutely nothing to look forward to in the hereafter except maybe some form of serial rape by the same number of men could be considered bliss) even under duress, but had had no choice than to sacrifice themselves in such a manner, maybe like we have heard (in a case actually) that some were threatened with a possible extermination of their families should they fail to comply. This dynamic has shown this group to be callous and to be absolutely thoughtless (not like it’s thoughtful to use males as suicide bombers, amongst all of the activities of the group), and lack any regard for the sanctity of human life, and worse still the case of the female. If they can put females to this sort of act, one can only imagine what they do to the ones alive in captivity with them as we speak. Just thinking about it now, makes me shudder at how dark the human can be, worse still when he purports to be doing what he does on behalf of his God!