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Hundreds of kidnapped Nigeria schoolboys freed, official says

Greater than 300 schoolboys who have been kidnapped final week by armed males in northwestern Nigeria have been launched, the Katsina state’s governor stated Thursday. Governor Aminu Bello Masari made the announcement on Nigerian state TV, NTA.

Greater than 800 college students have been on the Authorities Science Secondary Faculty, Kankara, when it was attacked on December 11 by armed males. Lots of escaped and it was believed there have been greater than 330 nonetheless captive.

“In the meanwhile, 344 of the scholars have been launched and handed over to the safety operatives. I feel we will say at the least we now have recovered a lot of the boys, if not all of them,” he stated.

Preparations are being made to move them to Katsina, he stated.

“The information reaching about an hour in the past signifies that each one of them have been recovered and they’re on their means from the forest space to Katsina, Masari stated, including that they’d be examined by docs Friday after which preparations could be made to reunite them with their households.

The federal government will probably be “working with the police and in addition to have interaction personal safety corporations to safeguard faculties” to forestall the “ugly expertise of the final six days,” he stated. The federal government had stated it was negotiating with the attackers.

Information of the discharge got here shortly after a video was launched by the jihadist rebels of Boko Haram that purportedly confirmed the kidnapped boys. Boko Haram claimed duty for the kidnapping.

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

A voice could be heard telling the boy, who’s clearly below duress, what to say from behind the digital camera. The youth says they have been kidnapped by a gang directed by Boko Haram factional chief Abubakar Shekau and that a few of these kidnapped from the Authorities Science Secondary Faculty have been killed.

The video circulated extensively on WhatsApp and first appeared on a Nigerian information web site, HumAngle, that usually experiences on Boko Haram.

Authorities officers stated police, the air power and the military tracked the abductors to a hideout within the Zango/Paula forest. There was an outcry within the West African nation in opposition to the federal government for not doing sufficient to cease assaults on faculties, in addition to villages, within the north.

Consultants say the assault was doubtless carried out by native gangs, who’ve staged more and more lethal assaults in northwest Nigeria this yr, and will probably have been collaborating with Boko Haram.

Mother and father of the lacking college students have been gathering every day on the faculty in Kankara for information of their sons.

The federal government first recognized the attackers as bandits, who’re identified to make use of baby troopers.

Earlier, Masari stated 17 boys have been rescued for the reason that preliminary abduction.

Usama Aminu, a pupil who was in a position to escape his captors, instructed the AP that he heard gunshots when the assault started. At first, he thought the photographs got here from a close-by city, however stated that when he realized it was a raid on the varsity by males with AK-47s, he and others scrambled from their dormitory and scaled a fence within the pandemonium.

Though the 17-year-old fled, he and the opposite college students nonetheless weren’t secure. “After we scaled the fence, we have been listening to voices that we should always come again,” Aminu stated.

The boys returned “considering they have been cops. Unknown to us it was the bandits. They then gathered us at a spot. That was once we realized they have been bandits, sporting navy uniform,” he stated.

“We walked by means of the night time within the bush, and at dawn, they discovered a spot and requested us to sit down down,” he added.

Throughout their hike, Aminu stated they met different boys of their teenagers carrying weapons. He stated some have been youthful than him.

“When the bandits heard the sound of the helicopter hovering above, they requested us to put down below the massive bushes with our face to the bottom,” stated Aminu, who suffers from sickle cell anemia, lately transferred to the varsity to be nearer to his household and medical care.

Exhausted from the trek, Aminu held onto the shoulders of two buddies “because the bandits continued to flog folks from the again in order that they will transfer sooner.”

After darkish, he determined to recite passages from the Quran. It was then that he managed to slide away unnoticed and conceal in a mosque. A resident finally discovered him coughing and provided him a change of garments in order that he might go away his faculty uniform behind, he stated. He returned residence about 11 p.m. Sunday.

His father, Aminu Ma’le, instructed AP he was relieved however nonetheless apprehensive for the others. “I can’t have fun alone due to the opposite boys nonetheless lacking,” stated the daddy.

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

Armed bandits have killed greater than 1,100 folks for the reason that starting of the yr in Nigeria’s northwest, in accordance with Amnesty Worldwide.

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 by the violence. Boko Haram has been primarily lively in northeast Nigeria, however with the abductions from the varsity in Katsina state, there’s fear the insurgency is increasing to the northwest.

Friday’s abduction is a chilling reminder of Boko Haram’s 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 practically all the 110 women they’d kidnapped from a boarding faculty in Dapchi and warned: “Do not ever put your daughters in class once more.”

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