West African leaders said Thursday they were seeking to “forbid” women wearing full-face veils in an effort to battle the growing number of female suicide bombers.
The president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, told reporters at the close of a two-day summit in Abuja that leaders must take “measures that would forbid this kind of dress that will not allow security personnel to be sure of their identities.”
As it loses swathes of territory to the Nigerian army, Boko Haram jihadists have in recent months started launching guerilla-style attacks, using young women and girls as suicide bombers by hiding explosives under their clothes.
Boko Haram has used the tactic similarly in Cameroon, Chad and Niger — countries that have already enforced bans on veils earlier this year.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to end the Boko Haram insurgency by the end of this month, but the deadline looks likely to be missed as attacks persist.