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Rahila Amos, who said she was abducted by Boko Haram and forced to take classes on how to carry out a suicide bombing. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times)

Creating terrorists

Escaped captives of Boko Haram say they were trained to perform suicide bombings

By WITW Staff on April 11, 2016

Women who have escaped capture from Boko Haram, the terrorist group that has struck fear across Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger, say that they were forced to enroll in Boko Haram’s classes on its version of Islam, and were taught how to perform successful suicide bombings. Since June 2014, when a woman set off a bomb at an army barracks in Nigeria, Boko Haram has used at least 105 women and girls in suicide attacks, according to The Long War Journal.

Rahila Amos, 47, a Nigerian grandmother, and a Christian, was captured by Boko Haram after fighters attacked her village. The women were forced to convert to Islam, and enrolled in a six-tiered daily education track. The first two levels were Quranic training, and the third was training in suicide bombing and beheading. Of the 30 or so female captives enrolled in training with her, she said seven girls were enthusiastic about carrying out a suicide mission. Amos said that while she herself escaped rape, she counted at least 14 women and four girls in her training who did not.

Throughout her captivity, Amos said she was fed one meal a day, a tactic that was part of their training. Several months ago, she explained, Boko Haram took the women to an old factory to see a group of plump, well-fed girls. Follow our ways, the fighters said, and you can eat like them. Amos said that the girls, some crying, told her they were from Chibok, the Nigerian village where Boko Haram captured almost 300 schoolgirls in April 2014.

Read the full story at The New York Times.