Men of the Joint Task Force, JTF in Borno State, known as Operation Restore Hope on Wednesday shot dead three Boko Haraminsurgents disguised as women who attempted to attack a police station in Maiduguri.
The JTF soldiers had apparently received intelligence of an impending attack on the Ibrahim Taiwo police station and were on alert and well prepared.
The insurgents had disguised as women wearing full hijab, the veil used by Muslim women to cover their body, underneath which they bore the deadly tools of their bloody trade – AK 47 rifles.
The gunmen are said to have tried to gain entry into the police station around 2.00 pm, posing as mere visitors but vigilant soldiers saw through their disguise and opened fire on them, killing all three in the ensuing gun battle.
The whole area was subsequently cordoned off by the soldiers for the rest of the day to forestall further attacks by the insurgents.
The use of hijab disguise by Boko Haram men has become fashionable for many reasons. For one thing, even at the height of the clampdown on Boko Haram members when stop and search was the order of the day in Maiduguri, women were not put through the indignity of proper body searches out of respect.
Also, because the JTF is made up of male soldiers, it would even have been ackward for them to have done full body searches on women.
It is this situation that the ever ingenious Boko Haram men have tried to exploit lately by dressing up as women in order to escape full scrutiny by security men.
Thus, women have been used as couriers of guns and ammunitions or, as happened last weekend at a market in Maiduguri, to plant bombs.
A woman wrapped an explosive device on her back like a baby apparently with the mission of planting the bomb at the popular market, but before she could complete her deadly errand, something detonated the contraption, instantly killing her.
Also last week, in Gwange ward, youths popularly known as CivilianJTF arrested some Boko hAram men disguised as women and handed them over to soldiers.