The United Nations (UN) has noted that Boko Haram fighters have stepped up the use of women and girls for suicide bombings.

Noting a progress in the war against the jihadist by the four countries of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, the UN said while children were deployed in 135 such attacks in 2017 – a five-fold increase over the previous year.

Therefore, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina Mohammed, said it was critical to shore up areas of Lake Chad Basin that have been freed from the grip of Boko Haram terrorists.

Mohammed, in a video address to the Security Council, also called for efforts to rebuild the lives of women and girls that had suffered at the hands of the terrorist group.

She said recent joint efforts of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger had resulted in “considerable progress” in the fight against the extremists.

Overall, Boko Haram has abducted more than 4,000 women and girls, according to the UN deputy chief, who added that those who return to their communities are often stigmatised.

She said the increase in Boko Haram’s use of women and girls as suicide bombers could be due to a lack of women security officers who could search other women at checkpoints.

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