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How Are Teenage Girls Being Trafficked and Used as Suicide Bombers in Northern Nigeria? - Authorities Investigate

The Director-General of Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr. Barkindo Saibu, has given a detailed account of how teenage female suicide bombers detonated explosives that killed 18 children, pregnant women, men and others on Saturday in Gwoza.

Gwoza is the birthplace of the Chief Whip of the Senate, Mohammed Ali Ndume.

Saibu who spoke when he visited the Senate Chief Whip, according to a statement by Ndume's Media Office, decried the situation.

The DG said teenage girls detonated some of the bombs that killed many in the unfortunate incidents.

He said, "In the first blast, a female suicide bomber detonated it at a marriage ceremony, injuring over 30 and causing instant deaths.

"In the second blast, it was almost like the first. It occurred near the General Hospital.

"The third blast happened at a funeral service (Janaiza). Another female suicide bomber detonated it, causing more casualties.

"In the fourth blast, a female teenager detonated a bomb at the hospital, injuring more people.

"In all, there were 18 deaths (children, adult males, females, and pregnant women), 19 seriously injured and transported to Maiduguri in four ambulances, 23 are waiting for military escort in Medical Regimental Services (MRS) Clinic.

"Regarding the injuries, there were abdominal raptures, skull fractures, limb fractures, among others.

"There were coordinated rescue mission. We mobilised emergency drugs to complement shortages in Gwoza. We arranged for a chopper transport."

Speaking on the situation, Ndume called on the Military to double its efforts. He appreciated their efforts and how they've successfully reduced cases of terrorism in the state.

Ndume, however expressed worry that with last weekend's attacks, there is an urgent need to raise the bar and provide more surveillance and security in the State to guide against future occurrences.

In the last four months, attackers have twice targeted people through suicide and improvised explosive devices in Borno state.

Borno state has been at the centre of a 15-year insurgency by Boko Haram Islamist militants, which has displaced more than two million people and killed more than 40,000.

Boko Haram gained international notoriety in April 2014 when it kidnapped more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, also in Borno state.

Shortly after the kidnapping, the group carried out an attack in June and used their first female suicide bomber.

This was only three years after it deployed its first male suicide bomber.

Since then, there have been speculations that some of the female suicide bombers may be the missing Chibok school girls.

A study found that Boko Haram has utilised more women as suicide bombers than any other group in history.

Recent numbers suggest that over half of all suicide bombers used by Boko Haram are female.

Many suggest that their mode of dressing (usually in hijab – a covering from the head to the feet) offers adequate means for hiding explosives.

Gwoza was seized by Boko Haram in 2014, and taken back by the Nigerian forces in 2015 - but the group has since continued to carry out attacks and kidnappings near the town.

The Gwoza suicide attacks has reignited suspicions that jihadist groups may be trying to reinvent themselves and show that they still have the capacity to do damage.

Last November, 20 people were killed by Boko Haram insurgents while returning from a funeral service in neighbouring Yobe state.

The attack happened a day after militants killed 17 people in a raid on Gurokayeya village, after villagers refused to pay a so-called harvest tax, police said.

Sources: This Day, BBC


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