Current intelligence reports on the emergence of female suicide bombers mostly in Kano and other states in northern Nigeria have been linked to the possible conscription of female beggars by Boko Haram members, investigations by THISDAY have revealed.
THISDAY learnt from reliable security sources in Abuja that the female beggars were banned and relocated outside the Kano metropolis by the state government sometime last year but were quickly recruited by the terrorists to disperse the attacks across Kano, Yobe and Gombe States, while the male recruits and Boko Haram members hold sway in Borno State.
A military source, while dismissing the suggestion that some of the suicide bombers might be the abducted Chibok girls, added that some of the female suicide bombers who had been used by the terrorists might have been unaware that they were being strapped with deadly explosives.
The source said: “They are not the Chibok girls and secondly, some of those girls might not really know they were strapped. Don't forget that the Kano State Government sometime early this year or late last year banned and drove out beggars from the city.
“Now the question you should ask is where are those girls who were begging?. Could they have gone back to their various places or have they been hiding somewhere or they are the ones being recruited by Boko Haram to carry out these attacks?.
“Our findings show that these women are easy to recruit and have fallen prey to Boko Haram members who have lured them with a few naira notes. They may also be ignorant of what they are being asked to do.”
In addition to the suspicion that female beggars may have been conscripted into the sect by Boko Haram members, security sources said they were also working on the possibility that the female suicide bombers might be the wives of slain or arrested members of the Islamic sect who have been indoctrinated and brainwashed to take revenge on behalf of their husbands.
Speaking to THISDAY on the issue yesterday, the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, said while the use of female suicide bombers was consistent with the terrorists’ murderous behaviour, the involvement of the abducted Chibok girls in suicide attacks had not been confirmed.
Olukolade said: “We can only subscribe to this claim if ongoing intelligence and surveillance activities in relation to efforts to recover the girls indicated such a development.”
He maintained that the involvement of the Chibok girls in suicide bombings remained speculative that needed to be proven.
Following the failed suicide bombing at a military facility in Gombe State by a female bomber in June, the military last month arrested three suspected female terrorists who it alleged had been secretly recruiting ladies into the female wing of the terrorist group.
Speaking on the development, the Deputy Director of Defence Information, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, had said the suspects, Hafsat Usman Bako, Zainab Idris and Aisha Abubakar, were intercepted while travelling to Madagali from where they were to transit to the forest to reunite with their cohorts.
He revealed that the suspects, led by Bako, had been assigned to recruit members into the female wing as well as conduct espionage for the group.
Nwachukwu said the arrested suspects were luring ladies especially widows and young girls by enticing them with male suitors who are mainly members of their terror group for marriage.