Exploding Stereotypes: The Unexpected Operational and Demographic Characteristics of Boko Haram's Suicide Bombers   [open pdf - 4MB]

From the executive summary: "Since 2009, the Islamist group known as Boko Haram (formally known as Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lid-da'awati wal-Jihad, or more recently, the Islamic State's West Africa Province [ISWAP]) has ushered in a wave of violence across the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, at the intersection of Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. Among other tactics that it has employed during its reign of terror, the group has been noted for its use of suicide bombers. While the prevalence of suicide bombings has been duly recognized, little remains known about the broader arc of their existence and efficacy: What strategic and operational trends underlie Boko Haram's use of suicide bombers, and how effective have they been at achieving their objectives? Just who are Boko Haram's suicide bombers? Where are they deployed, what do they target, and how do different bomber demographics differ in their actions? More broadly, what does Boko Haram's use of suicide bombers reveal about the past, present, and future of the terrorist group?"

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Combating Terrorism Center at West Point: http://www.ctc.usma.edu
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