Persecution watchdog groups are speculating that kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, many of whom are Christian, could have been used by the Boko Haram terror group to carry out a suicide bombing and kill 56 people in Maiduguri, Adamawa state, earlier in December.
International Christian Concern said on Monday that many of the Chibok girls who were kidnapped in April 2014 and are yet to be rescued are believed to be held captive in the Sambisa forest close to Maiduguri, where two young teenage girls blew themselves up and killed 56 victims.
"It wouldn't be far fetched to assume, they could be one of the Chibok girls, or other Christian girls captured and indoctrinated by the Islamist terrorist group. It is apparent that girls are regarded as easily discardable; more than 100 girls have been used by Boko Haram to kill and in the process, kill themselves too," ICC wrote.
"We pray for the many families in Nigeria, who continue to wait for news about their abducted daughters and live in fear, that one of theirs may have blown herself up in a crowded market," the group added.
The Islamic terror group has been pushed out of some of its previously held regions in Nigeria this year, but it continues to carry out raids on villages and bombings at crowded places. It has also increasingly been using children to carry out suicide missions, as a number of reports have stated.
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that Boko Haram has specifically been targeting Nigeria's school system, which it believes is controlled by Christians and is offering Western education, which contradicts hardline Islamic beliefs.
The radicals have reportedly assassinated as many as 611 teachers since the insurgency began in 2009, and have burned down another 910 schools.
What is more, militants have been training former students to return to their schools and kill their teachers and other students.
"Boko Haram believes Earth is flat, and that Muslims are permitted to take slaves and duty-bound to kill infidels. Culture and history also play a role in the group's fixation with secular education, according to analysts," the report noted.
"British colonialists brought education and Christianity to the region at the beginning of the 20th century, triggering long-held resentment which lingers to this day."
The Daily Beast shared details of the latest suicide bombing in Maiduguri, reporting that the teenagers targeted the crowded Madagali market, to kill the largest number of people.
"The duo moved from one section of the market to the other surveying the most populous part," a local revenue collector told Vanguard, a local newspaper. "They ensured that the market was at its peak before they detonated their deadly wares."
Akor Jackson, project manager of IYDEA Nigeria, an organization that assists disabled Boko Haram victims, said kidnapped girls continue to be used as suicide vessels by the terror group.
"Female bombers are the biggest threat to Magadali," Jackson said. "Girls keep appearing from this forest and carrying out deadly attacks in the town."
While 21 of the kidnapped Chibok girls were released earlier this year, the majority of the 276 girls that were taken in April 2014 remain missing. The Bring Back Our Girls Campaign, which is calling for the world not to forget about the girls, has said it is trying to overcome the "challenge of hope fatigue."
"There is the challenge of hope fatigue, especially when the expected timelines are not achieved and financial streams are low. However, the campaign remains faithful in its advocacy," campaign co-founder Saudatu Mahdi told IPS.