Children soldiers and suicide bombers in Nigeria
Fourteen-year-old Halima Audo was captured by Boko Haram and imprisoned in a camp run by the Nigerian terror group. She described to Radio France International (RFI) the horror of witnessing several young girls being sent on suicide missions to detonate explosives in crowded markets during her time in the camp.
One of the youngest victims, Halima recalled, was a nine-year-old girl. Halima told RFI, “They put explosives on her, and she went with it. On the day of this particular mission, there were three of them – all of them were young girls.”
Despite being scheduled to complete a suicide mission herself after several months in the camp, Halima Audu managed to escape with her life.
Unfortunately, with the rise of Boko Haram and the Islamic-State affiliated group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in Nigeria, the exploitation of children as child soldiers has become a frequent and sobering reality.
The two violent jihadist groups are known for their mass abduction of children, especially girls, as part of their bloody campaign to instate Islamic sharia law throughout Nigeria. ICC has reported in the past that the group prefers using younger children as suicide bombers and older children as soldiers.
The United States-based research group, Combating Terrorism Center, found that, since it deployed its first female suicide bomber in June of 2014, Boko Haram has carried out 240 suicide attacks by women and female children. One thousand two hundred people have been killed and more than 3,000 injured by these attacks.