Saturday, April 09, 2016

Indoctrinating the Vulnerable

"This isn't something  you can defeat or eradicate outright. You don't know who is who. When you see a young girl moving toward you, you don't know if she's hiding a bomb."
"They [Boko Haram] know where we have the Achilles heel [incapable of firing on any woman or girl who appears suspicious as a potential suicide bomber]."
Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Cameroonian minister of communications
Aminu Abubakar / AFP, Getty Images

Mr. Bakar knows of what he speaks. In his country, since the start of 2016, 22 female suicide bombers were identified. Although Boko Haram may have assembled themselves in Nigeria, their dreaded presence goes well beyond Nigeria's borders, into Chad, Cameroon and Niger. Boko Haram fighters have specialized in rampaging brutality. In this, they are merely following the order of original Islam as exemplified by the revered Prophet.

They attack mosques, churches and schools, and specialize in mass killing of civilians. They sweep into a village, leaving it in ruin, massacring the men and kidnapping the women for sex slaves. They're considered, along with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant -- to whom they have pledged allegiance, planning to build a regional caliphate of their own -- to represent one of the deadliest such extremist groups in the world.

They have captured and held prisoner as sex slaves, thousands of women. Of that number roughly one hundred stand out as having become women and girls used in suicide attacks. the first one, in 2014, blew herself up at a Nigerian army barracks. Women and girls since then, with bombs  hidden under their clothing or held in baskets have killed hundreds of people, in attacks on markets, schools and refugee camps.

Abducting, imprisoning and raping girls and women, the Boko Haram fighters give their victims the option if they are Christian, to convert to Islam. A denial sparks their immediate death. Christian-turned-Muslim or originally Muslim, the women and children are deeply indoctrinated in the Koranic principles of Islam. Once they have succeeded in passing that Koranic indoctrination they are then passed into other classes, one of which is skills in killing and in detonating explosive devices.

Rahila Amos, a Nigerian grandmother who said she was abducted by Boko Haram and forced to take classes on how to carry out a suicide bombing, in Minawao, Cameroon.  Boko Haram, one of the world’s deadliest extremist groups, has used at least 105 women and girls in suicide attacks since June 2014. Photograph: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times Rahila Amos, a Nigerian grandmother who said she was abducted by Boko Haram and forced to take classes on how to carry out a suicide bombing, in Minawao, Cameroon.  Photograph: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

It was described by Col. Didier Badjeck, a spokesman for Cameroon defence, that after soldiers had routed Boko Haram out of villages they discovered homes used as prisons for women and girls. That the women reported having been trained during their captivity in the Koran and in violence. "They are training them to maximize the number of victims. We are sure about it."

A female suicide bomber in March dressed to represent a man waited for morning prayers to set off her explosives. Outside waited another woman to time her detonation as people outside the mosque fled the first blast. Altogether. about 24 people were killed in the double blasts. Humanitarian groups are reconsidering the manner in which food, water and other aid is distributed ... what if one of the women they try to serve is hiding a bomb?

In February three girls dispatched with bombs were sent to a camp for Nigerians attempting to escape Boko Haram's predations While two of the girls detonated their bombs, the third saw her parents among the people in the camp and threw her explosives into the bush. On that occasion 60 people were killed. The female bombers are able to tuck explosives under their dresses, but young boys have also been used as suicide bombers.

One of the abductees, now rescued, a 47-year-old Nigerian mother and grandmother spoke of her experiences and the young girls who carried out suicide missions because they saw it as "a direct path to heaven", which was what their captors indoctrinated them to believe. I seems plausible that to a young girl being repeatedly raped the misery of her existence could be halted by agreeing to become a suicide bomber. Their training was initiated, a six tiered daily exposure to Koranic training.

Once the first two levels were complete, based on training in the Koran, the one that followed was to be trained in suicide bombing and beheading. "How to kill a person and how to bomb a house", explained Rahila Amon, the 47-year-old. "They told us if we came upon a group of ten to twenty people to press this (a detonator)." Along with advice to hold the bomb under the armpit to keep it steady. And to sever your enemy's head from behind to minimize the potential of a struggle.

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