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5 Apr, 2010 05:32

The grim truth behind training female suicide bombers

Russian special forces in Dagestan are searching for the relatives of a 17-year-old female suicide bomber who blew herself up a week ago in the Moscow Metro.

Teenager Djennet Abdurakhmanova was the widow of a Dagestani militant killed by federal security services during a raid there last year.

The second female Moscow Metro suicide bomber has allegedly been identified by her father, a resident of the Republic of Dagestan, after seeing pictures of her posted on the Internet.

Rasul Magomedov identified the woman as his 28-year-old daughter Maryam Sharipova, who committed the first terror attack in the Moscow Metro on March 29, Novaya Gazeta reports.

The explosion in the Moscow Metro may have been carried out by Maryam Sharipova, confirms the senior Prosecutor’s assistant from the Dagestani Prosecutor’s Office, RIA Novosti reports.

“Sharipova’s father told the Prosecutor’s Office on Monday that he saw pictures of his daughter on the Internet,” the spokesperson said. “He specified that the last time he saw his daughter was March 26. On March 28 she was in Makhachkala, from where she called her mother and said she was going to visit her friend. After that she disappeared.”

Only the forensic investigation will confirm or deny the information, added the source. The information that Maryam Sharipova was married to a militant leader cannot be officially confirmed yet, he added.

Maryam Sharipova, who worked as a teacher in a village school, was very responsible, told the head of the local administration to RIA Novosti, noting that she was a good student at university. “I saw her in the picture, that’s surely her. Everybody recognized her. But I don’t know what she did it for,” he added.

Rasul Magomedov said that his daughter was religious but not radical. “I exclude the possibility that she could have been psychologically treated. She had a psychology diploma herself,” he emphasized.

Doomed faith

There are many chilling examples of how women under a strong militant influence are encouraged to sacrifice everything, even their lives, in the name of terrorism. Aisha's case is one of them.

During a typical special operation in Dagestan the police had trapped and surrounded a militant and his wife Aisha in their home. Security forces then told them to lay down their arms and leave the house.

A desperate phone call was then made from inside the house; Aisha called her husband’s sister.

“I am pregnant. I was praying and I thought: should I surrender?” Aisha said.

“Please, don’t!” implored the sister. “What's good about this life? Be strong until the last moment! Ask Allah not to let you stay alive.”

Regions like the North Caucasus, with a predominantly Muslim population, seem more vulnerable to the recruiting methods of extremism.

Militants from abroad go there in search of carriers for their lethal weapons before unleashing them on public targets. And it is this influence that likely made 17-year-old Djennet blow herself up in the Moscow Metro.

Malaysian student Sim Eih-Xing who survived the blast believes he may have seen the girl just moments before the explosion.

“Her eyes were wide open, and there was a feeling that she was not normal. But at that time I did not suspect that she was a suicide bomber,” remembered Sim Eih-Xing.

RT went to the village where Djennet lived, but people were reluctant to talk on camera. Many were worried that her actions had damaged the village’s reputation. However, away from the camera we learned that a year ago she married a 30-year-old militant leader. Several months later he was killed in a special operation, which, according to the extremist code, left the teenager with two options: marry another militant or become a suicide bomber. She opted for the latter.

Security sources say militants have changed tactics. While before they mainly attacked police in the region, now female suicide bombers are being trained to later be spread across the country. This method, widely employed by extremists in the Middle East, is now becoming a powerful tool for militants in Russia’s South.

“Terrorism in the Caucasus comes from the outside and is funded from the outside,” stated Viktor Nadein-Raevsky from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations. “The terror attacks are characteristic of Al-Qaeda: the first blast attracts crowds of people, then the second blast hits.”

The method of the two recent double attacks in Southern Russia has been almost identical. On March 31 in Dagestan 12 were people killed, and in Ingushetia on Monday, April 5, two police officers were killed and two injured.

International terrorists use many different tactics to recruit female suicide bombers.

“For example, they try to disgrace women, to rape them to deprive them of any hope for a better future – such things do matter in the Caucasus, just like for any other Muslims,” Nadein-Raevsky explains. “Such women are psychologically shattered, broken. They are prepared to become gun fodder.”

That was supposed to happen with another 22-year-old woman who walked into a shop in Dagestan’s capital, with a bag full of explosives, ready to kill herself and innocent people. Luckily, the attack was averted that time.

Female suicide bombings are not yet a widespread phenomenon in Russia, but it is clear that the authorities need to take a firm grip on the problem to avoid a repeat of the tragic events in the Moscow Metro last week.