Adam Ferguson for The New York Times
Portraits of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants, taken in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria.
The girls were strapped with explosives, and ordered to blow themselves up in crowded areas, but managed to escape and find help instead of detonating the bombs. Boko Haram—a Nigeria-based militant Islamist group whose name translates roughly to ‘Western education is forbidden’—expressly targets schools and has abducted more than 2,000 women and girls since 2014. Female suicide bombers are seen by the militants as a new weapon of war. In 2016, The New York Times reported at least one in every five suicide bombers deployed by Boko Haram over the previous two years had been a child, usually a girl. The group used 27 children in suicide attacks in the first quarter of 2017, compared to nine during the same period the previous year.
To see all the nominees please visit the 2018 Photo Contest gallery: http://www.worldpressphoto.org/collection/photo/2018