Girls groomed for suicide missions fight back against the extremists of Lake Chad

UN News/Daniel Dickinson
In Bol, Chad, the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed (l) meets Halima Yakoy Adam who survived a Boko Haram suicide bombing mission.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Halima Yakoy Adam won’t forget 22nd December in 2015, the day she was supposed to carry out a suicide bomb attack in the Lac Region town of Bol, 200 km north of N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, in Central Africa.

“It was market day in Bol and I was with two other girls who like me carried explosives,” the young woman told UN News. “I was just 15 years old. I was given drugs and had been trained by the extremist Boko Haram terrorist group to be a suicide bomber.”

The local authorities detected the three teenage girls and tried to arrest them, but the two other girls detonated their explosive vests, killing themselves and seriously wounding Halima Yakoy Adam. She survived but had both legs amputated below her knees.

Halima is one of the extraordinary young women, introduced to the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General in Chad on Thursday. UN News is accompanying her and other senior women from the world body, and the African Union, on a high-level visit that will include neighbouring Niger this weekend.

Boko Haram has been active in north-east Nigeria and the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger for several years. Its chief aim is to create an Islamist state in the north of Nigeria. Its campaign of terror has caused the displacement of some 10 million people as of 2017, and led to the widespread destruction of basic infrastructure, such as health and educational facilities, as well as agricultural land and machinery.

Coordination among the affected countries including through the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has led to what the UN described last year as “encouraging progress in the fight against Boko Haram.”  But to compensate for that success, the group has changed its tactics, increasing the use of suicide attacks. In June and July 2017, the United Nations recorded some 130 attacks attributed to Boko Haram, leading to the deaths of 284 civilians in the four affected countries.

Raising Awareness

Speaking in Bol after talking to Halima, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told UN News: “This is one of many stories I have heard, as this is where I come from. I come from Nigeria. This is sadly the story of many girls; but unlike Halima many did not survive.”

Ms Mohammed praised the young woman’s resilience, adding: “I think there is more awareness of suicide bombing today than there was before. There is nothing more powerful than a victim who tells her story. Halima has moved from victim to survivor because she is using that experience to educate other girls.”

Although the incidence of suicide bombing appears to be increasing in Chad, it is a relatively new development for women to be involved, according to Clarisse Mehoudamadji Nailar from CELIAF, a Chadian association of women leaders.

“Extremism amongst women didn’t exist in the past in Chad. This seems to be a new phenomenon,” she said. “The Government is making a big effort to fight the extremists and meanwhile non-governmental organizations in Chad are trying to educate and sensitize women about the dangers of extremism.”

A joint United Nations-African Union mission has been in Chad for two days. The visit which also included the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Margot Wallström, has focused on the importance of women’s meaningful participation in promoting peace, security and development.

The Executive Director of the UN’s gender agency, UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka- also part of the mission – said that groups like Boko Haram aim to manipulate young girls to carry out terrorist acts. “What is common to these terrorist groups is the subjugation of women and girls and a denial of their rights”, she told UN News.

“These groups manipulate and exploit inequality. It is for this reason that our efforts to prevent violent extremism need to prioritize gender equality.” She added that “Halima’s story epitomizes the relationship between the lack of power of women and terrorism – a young woman who had no choices over decisions relating to her own life.”

Back in Bol in Chad’s Lac Region, Halima has finished her training as a paralegal. Today she considers herself an agent change of who sensitizes “my sisters against radicalism and extreme violence,” she said adding: “I am happy to have a second chance in life and now I want to give back to my community.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

At Ministerial session, UN regional office in Beirut to focus on technology for sustainable development

Love unlimited

Marco Polo’s Dream

The EU checks the multinationals for tax fraud but Britain may sail out of the EU via Panama

The EU moulds a new compromise for growth and financial sustainability

Can Kiev make face to mounting economic problems and social unrest?

The European Council takes more measures to stem illegal migration

Japan to invest in euro values

Which EU countries have to correct their economic policies?

A young European voice on Grexit: too high a bill and too big a deal!

Tools of asset development: Renewable Energy Projects case

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris is indeed our best bet for a secure climate future”, EU Commissioner for Environment Karmenu Vella cries out from Brussels

Challenges remain in DPRK despite ‘slight’ improvements in health, wellbeing: UNICEF

Main results of EU-Japan summit: Tokyo, 17/07/2018

The big challenge of leadership and entrepreneurship in Europe

Employers’ organizations work towards improving the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises

Here’s what keeps CEOs awake at night (and why it might be bad news for your next job)

GDPR and the World Cup have these 4 things in common

Eurozone: How can 200 banks find €400 billion?

A young student discusses the determinants of migration in the European Union

How Eurozone consumers spend their income when they have one…

“Leaked” TTIP document breaks post 8th negotiations round silence and opens door to critics

Italian banks: It’s Rome’s turn to confront Berlin’s aggressiveness

FIAT Chrysler: from Geneva Motor show to the World, and back

Google’s bare truth: Europe’s Chief denies EU accusations but admits they “don’t always get it right”

An entrepreneurial point-of view on tackling the migration crisis and the risks of abolishing Schengen

Is Eurozone preparing to abandon austerity and stagnation?

A Sting Exclusive: “Regional Policy: a fully-fledged investment policy”, Commissioner Cretu reveals live from European Business Summit 2015

ECB’s unconventional monetary measures give first tangible results

‘Laser-sharp focus’ needed to achieve Global Goals by 2030, UN political forum told

Drugs cost too much. There is a better way to fund medical innovation

The West and Russia impose a new order on the world

The “Legend of the Sun” wishes you Happy Chinese New Year 2015 from Brussels

European Agenda on Migration: Still fragile situation gives no cause for complacency

FEATURE: Niger’s girls find sanctuary in fistula treatment centres

EU lawmakers vote to reintroduce visas for Americans over “reciprocity principle”

How to provide health education and thus create better health systems

Russia won’t let Ukraine drift westwards in one piece

Britain, EU take edgy steps to unlock Brexit talks as the war of words rages

Switzerland to introduce strict restrictions on executive pay

Europe rethinking its severe austerity policies

What options the new President of Ukraine has?

How well you age depends on what you think of old age

A European young student shares his thoughts on Quality Education

“A global threat lies ahead worsened after the EU’s green light to the Bayer-Monsanto merger”, a Sting Exclusive by the President of Slow Food

ECB offers cheaper money despite reactions from Germany

COP21 Breaking News_08 December: Cities & Regions Launch Major Five-Year Vision to Take Action on Climate Change

Eurozone: In vicious cycle of disinflation and unemployment?

G20 LIVE: “ISIL is the face of evil; our goal is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organisation”, US President Barack Obama cries out from Antalya Turkey

ECB asks for more subsidies to banks

This AI is working with a fleet of drones to help us fight ocean plastic

The EU has to prove it can remain one piece

Eurozone: GDP development heads to naught; the expensive euro serves only Germany

EU prepares a banking union amidst financial ruins

ECB: The bastion of effective and equitable Europeanism keeps up quantitative easing

Population in crisis hit EU countries will suffer for decades

JADE Generations Club: Connecting perspectives, changing Europe.

Chauvinism and xenophobia will lead to global assertiveness and more wars

Pharmaceuticals conceal drug side effects with the EU’s Court blessing

Why and how did ISIS and Muslim fundamentalism gain momentum this year?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s