Africa

Chibok Girls Forced To Become Suicide Bombers

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bringbackourgirls

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Chibok Girls Forced To Become Suicide Bombers

You may remember two years ago, when a group of more than two hundred children was abducted by the extremist group, Boko Haram, in Nigeria.

Boko Haram is an Islamist group that believes Western education is a threat to their religion. Thus, it has regularly targeted schools in an attempt to destabilize the government and establish a religious theocracy under its control. The group has targeted girl’s schools as they believe girls as young as nine should be married instead of going to school, as they feel the education of girls is forbidden by Islam. In addition, the attacks on girls’ schools provide them with a regular source of young women, whom they kidnap to serve as domestic labor and as sex slaves.

And the Chibok girls were their latest victims.

The militants launched an attack on their school in April 2014, killing the guards with machine guns and grenades before kidnapping most of the students. After being abducted from the school, the Chibok girls were smuggled over the border into camps in the neighboring countries of Chad and Cameroon. There they were sold as “wives” to the militants for a fee of around twelve dollars each.

In Nigeria, the grief-stricken parents began a campaign pleading for the return of their children. Popular demonstrations denounced Boko Haram and the Government of Nigeria for its failure to protect the Chibok girls, despite having more than four hours warning of the impending attack, according to Amnesty International.

Within a few hours, the hashtag #bringbackourgirls began trending on Twitter, calling for the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls. International outrage peaked over the next few weeks and then began to subside when months later, the girls remained missing.

Even now, two years later, few Chibok girls have ever returned home.

Now, troubling news reports suggest that their plight is even worse than anyone knew. A number of attacks in Northern Nigeria have revealed that the Chibok girls are being forced to become suicide bombers.

It’s estimated that one in four Nigerian suicide bombings involve children as young as eight years old, and four-fifths of these are girls.

Boko Haram is eager to use girls for these attacks because they customarily wear long veils, allowing easy concealment of the bombs and are less likely to arouse suspicion from the targeted victims.

Many Chibok girls held in Boko Haram camps are eager to volunteer for suicide bombings, thinking it will be a chance to escape the regular abuse they suffer at the hands of the group. Many hope to be able to approach soldiers who will disarm the bomb and help them return home, not realizing that the bombs are usually remotely detonated by adult terrorists. Other Chibok girls are aware of the fate that awaits them and simply find death preferable to a life of relentless torture.

As Boko Haram carries on its campaign of terror, it is leaving behind a humanitarian crisis. It has created a food crisis in Northern Nigeria that is quickly approaching the level of a famine, thousands have been killed in raids and bombings, and an entire generation of youth in the region is in danger of losing the opportunity for an education because of the indiscriminate violence of a gang of fundamentalist slavers.

And now, as the Chibok girls remain away from home for the third year, most have likely given up hope of ever seeing their families again. Those of us watching can only hope that one day they may be given another chance at the life that was stolen from them.

Wyatt is a writer and your friend. You can follow him on Twitter @WyattRedd.