Women taken hostage by African terror group Boko Haram are being trained to be used as suicide bombers, according to a recent report.
At least 105 women and girls have carried out suicide bombing missions for the terror group, resulting in hundreds of deaths since 2014, The New York Times reported.
Responding to the group’s recent territorial losses, Boko Haram is now training women “to maximize the number of victims” in attacks, Colonel Didier Badjeck, a defense spokesman in Cameroon told The Times.
Abducted women spend several days being ‘groomed’ by Boko Haram, surviving on just one meal a day. One Christian abductee, Rahila Amos, told The Times she feared for her life and converted to Islam after the group of women she was kidnapped with were asked if they would like to follow Christ or become Muslim.
The women were given six different classes ranging from Quranic training, suicide bombing and beheading over the course of several months. Amos managed to escape and later described being taught “how to kill a person, and how to bomb a house.”
Amos also reported that Boko Haram fighters showcased other well-fed girls, to demonstrate that complying with the militants would result in the kidnapped women being fed and treated better.
The girls told Amos they hailed from the Nigerian city of Chibok, where Boko Haram kidnapped 300 school girls in 2014. The U.S. State Department has promised to investigate these claims.
While some women are raped and impregnated during their captivity, other women are taught to hide bombs under their clothes or in baskets and told where the best targets, like schools and markets, are located.
Women are examined less carefully than men at checkpoints, making it easier for them to smuggle hidden explosives under their clothes or religious attire.
Most women are held against their will, however there are some who are happy to execute suicide missions, as they believe it is a ticket to heaven.
Almost 60 people were killed in February when two of three girls, who were ordered by Boko Haram to set off explosives in a camp housing Nigerians who had fled the militant group, succeeded in setting off their explosives.
Humanitarian groups report that Boko Haram has abducted 2,000 women and children since 2012 and that children have also been trained to be used as suicide bombers.
“This isn’t something you can defeat or eradicate outright,” Cameroon’s minister of Communications, Issa Tchiroma Bakery said referring to the challenge of identifying women trained as martyrs.
Last year, the terror group, founded in 2002 and formerly reported to have had links to Al Qaeda, swore allegiance to the Islamic State.