Extra Than 300 Kidnapped Schoolboys Freed, Nigerian Official Says

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Greater than 300 schoolboys kidnapped final week armed males in northwest Nigeria have been launched, a authorities official mentioned Thursday.

In an announcement on Nigerian state TV, NTA, Katsina State Gov. Aminu Bello Masari mentioned the 344 boarding faculty college students have been turned over to safety officers and have been being delivered to the state capital, the place they may get bodily examinations earlier than being reunited with their households.

“I believe we will say … we’ve got recovered many of the boys, if not all of them,” Masari mentioned. He didn’t disclose if the federal government paid any ransom.

President Muhammadu Buhari welcomed their launch, calling it “an enormous reduction to their households, all the nation and to the worldwide neighborhood,” in line with a press release from his workplace. Amid an outcry within the West African nation over insecurity within the north, Buhari famous his administration’s profitable efforts to safe the discharge of beforehand kidnapped college students. He added that the federal government “is conscious about its duty to guard the life and property of the Nigerians.”

“We now have loads of work to do, particularly now that we’ve got reopened the borders,” Buhari mentioned, acknowledging that the Northwest area “presents an issue” the administration “is set to cope with.”

Boko Haram claimed duty for final Friday’s abduction of the scholars from the all-boys Authorities Science Secondary Faculty within the Katsina State village of Kankara. The jihadist group carried out the assault as a result of it believes Western schooling is un-Islamic, factional chief Abubakar Shekau mentioned in a video earlier this week. Greater than 800 college students have been in attendance on the time of the assault. A whole lot escaped, but it surely was believed that greater than 330 have been taken.

For greater than 10 years, Boko Haram has engaged in a bloody marketing campaign to introduce strict Islamic rule in Nigeria’s north. 1000’s have been killed and greater than 1 million have been displaced the violence. The group has been primarily energetic in northeast Nigeria, however with the abductions from the college in Kankara, there may be fear the insurgency is increasing to the northwest.

The federal government had mentioned it was negotiating with the college attackers, initially described as bandits. Consultants say the assault was probably carried out native gangs, who’ve staged more and more lethal assaults in northwest Nigeria this yr, and will probably have been collaborating with Boko Haram. Armed bandits have killed greater than 1,100 individuals for the reason that starting of the yr within the area, in line with Amnesty Worldwide.

Dad and mom of the lacking college students have been gathering each day on the faculty in Kankara. Information of the scholars’ launch got here shortly after the discharge of a video Thursday Boko Haram that purportedly confirmed the kidnapped boys.

Within the greater than six-minute video seen Related Press journalists, the obvious captors inform one boy to repeat their calls for that the federal government name off its seek for them troops and plane.

The video circulated extensively on WhatsApp and first appeared on a Nigerian information website, HumAngle, that usually studies on Boko Haram.

Usama Aminu, a 17-year-old kidnapped pupil who was ultimately in a position to escape, advised the AP that his captors wore army uniforms. He mentioned he additionally noticed gun-toting teenagers, some youthful than him, aiding the attackers.

He mentioned the kidnapped boys tried to assist one another as bandits flogged them from behind to get them to maneuver sooner and compelled them to lie down underneath giant timber when helicopters have been heard above.

Aminu escaped at evening. He was in a position to return residence after being discovered a resident in a mosque who gave him a change of garments and cash.

Authorities officers mentioned earlier this week that police, the air drive and the military tracked the abductors to a hideout within the Zango/Paula forest.

Katsina state shut down all its boarding faculties to stop different abductions. The close states of Zamfara, Jigiwa and Kano even have closed faculties as a precaution.

Masari mentioned the federal government will work with the police to extend non-public safety on the Kankara faculty “to guarantee that we don’t expertise what we’ve got skilled within the final six days.”

Just one policeman was working on the faculty when it was attacked.

Friday’s abduction was a chilling reminder of Boko Haram’s earlier assaults on faculties. In February 2014, 59 boys have been killed when the jihadists attacked the Federal Authorities School Buni Yadi in Yobe state.

In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped greater than 270 schoolgirls from a authorities boarding faculty in Chibok in northeastern Borno state. About 100 of these women are nonetheless lacking.

In 2018, Boko Haram Islamic extremists introduced again almost all the 110 women they’d kidnapped from a boarding faculty in Dapchi and warned: “Don’t ever put your daughters in class once more.”

Petesch reported from Dakar, Senegal. Related Press reporters Lekan Oyekanmi in Katsina, Nigeria; and Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria, contributed.

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