Why Do Women Turn into Suicide Bombers?

Aug 05, 2014

Recently, a young Nigerian girl—just 15 years old—approached a group of police officers and blew herself up. The attack failed; she claimed no lives but her own.

Boko Haram may have launched bloodier attacks, but I struggle to imagine a more heinous terror plot. That girl was just one of four Nigerian women to weaponize themselves this July in the populous northern city of Kano. The second attempt, targeting a shopping mall, likewise killed just the bomber. The third slaughtered three women lined up to buy oil for their cook-stoves. The fourth cut short the lives of six young people at Kano Polytechnic.

These attacks cast in sharp relief a trend that needs greater attention: the real and growing participation of women in extremist movements.

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