In July 2014, almost four months after the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram abducted around 270 schoolgirls from Chibok in Borno state, a series of suicide attacks caused fresh panic across the country. In as many days, four suicide bombings targeted Kano, a major city in northern Nigeria. It was not just the quick succession of the bombs that caused this panic, but that all the attacks were carried out by teenage women. Could these bombers be the Chibok schoolgirls? Had they been “brainwashed” to the Boko Haram cause, as Nigerian Army sources reportedly suspected? Or were they forced to join the fight?

The first female suicide attack by Boko Haram within Nigeria took place just a month before the Kano bombings, almost 400 kilometers to the south in Gombe. This was followed by a woman suicide attacker in the southern Christian port city of Lagos, well outside Boko Haram’s traditional area of operations. These bombings are significant as they all took place outside the three key states Boko Haram targets: Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. These three states are currently under a state of emergency. The blasts also pointed to Boko Haram’s use of women suicide bombers as a dangerous new tactic. Yet since July, there have been no further attacks by women. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog