A study by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point and Yale University in the United States of America has revealed that 244 women or girls have acted as bombers for Boko Haram.
According to elleuk.com, the report examined 434 suic*de bombings carried out by Boko Haram between 2011 and June, 2017.
The United Nations Children's Fund came to similar findings while looking at 84 bombings by minors this year. The majority were done by girls, usually under 15.
As Boko Haram lose territory and subjected to heavy attacks by the Nigerian Military, it's clear the insurgents are using girls and women to hit soft targets.
“It is definitely devastating. A gut wrenching feeling to think more and more women are being used as suic*de bombers.
“They [terrorists] just want to instill fear in the community and ensure we are still aware of their power over us,”said Fati Gangaran, a young photographer from Maiduguri who documents ordinary life in the city.
Boko Haram's use of female suic*de bombers first began after the kidnapping of the Chibok school girls in 2014.
According to researchers, after the incident, the insurgents realised the ability of young female bodies to attract global attention.
Quickly, the numbers of women bombers increased drastically. But those on the ground say there are other, more practical reasons to use women too.
Bring Back Our Girls co-founder, Aisha Yesufu says the use of women for the group's activities is due to the fact that women are expendable.
She said:“Women are easy targets and they are easily controlled, especially in the North-east of Nigeria women are not given much respect, they are not seen as equals and can easily be cowed into obeying whatever vile instructions are given to them.
“They have been programmed to always obey. Keeping the women uneducated or half-educated ensures male dominance over them.”
Meanwhile, the federal government has pledged to ensure the total de-radicalisation and rehabilitation of all ex-Boko Haram membersbefore re-integrating them into the society in line with international best practices.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, made the pledge on Tuesday, August 22, in Abuja at a National Stakeholders’ Forum on Re-integration in the North-east organised by the Kukah Centre.