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Nigeria: Arrested women recruited for Boko Haram

By Radina Gigova, CNN
updated 4:56 PM EDT, Sat July 5, 2014
A video of Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, is shown in September 2013. Boko Haram is an <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/27/world/africa/nigeria-year-of-attacks'>Islamist militant group waging a campaign of violence</a> in northern Nigeria. The group's ambitions range from the stricter enforcement of Sharia law to the total destruction of the Nigerian state and its government. Click through to see recent bloody incidents in this strife-torn West African nation: A video of Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, is shown in September 2013. Boko Haram is an Islamist militant group waging a campaign of violence in northern Nigeria. The group's ambitions range from the stricter enforcement of Sharia law to the total destruction of the Nigerian state and its government. Click through to see recent bloody incidents in this strife-torn West African nation:
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Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Women were recruiting for militant group, government says
  • This effort involved finding women for marriage
  • Boko Haram blamed for recurring violence in Nigeria

(CNN) -- Authorities have arrested three women who have been secretly recruiting members for the female wing of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, Nigeria's Defense Ministry said Friday.

"The arrested trio suspects were luring ladies, especially widows and young girls, by enticing them with male suitors who are mainly members of their terror group, for marriage," said Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, director of defense information.

"Before their arrest, they were on a mission to take additional briefing from the leadership of the terror group," said Nwachukwu.

The suspects, identified as Hafsat Usman Bako, Zainab Idris and Aisha Abubakar, were arrested while traveling to the town of Madagali.

Officials say one of the women, Hafsat Bako, was married to a member of the terrorist group who was killed by the military. "Hafsat continued with the terror group, specializing in surreptitious recruitment of members into their fold," said the ministry.

The arrests were made after a recent suicide bombing attempt on a military facility in the state of Gombe, carried out by a female suspect who blew herself up.

Boko Haram has been terrorizing Nigeria's Borno state in recent years and thousands have fled the violence. In April, the terrorist group abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok. The girls are still missing.

Where are Nigeria's missing girls? On the hunt for Boko Haram

Boko Haram: A bloody insurgency, a growing challenge

What to know about Boko Haram

CNN's Nana Karikari-apau contributed to this report.

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