Prime News Ghana

More than 280 children released after being abducted from Nigerian school

By primenewsghana
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More than 280 students and staff members abducted by gunmen from a school in northern Nigeria have been released unharmed, the state's governor office says, days before a deadline to pay a $1.1 million ransom.

The kidnapping of 287 children on March 7 in Kuriga in the north-western Kaduna State was the first mass abduction in Africa's most populous nation since 2021 when over 150 students were taken from a high school.

A security source said the students were rescued in a forest in neighbouring Zamfara state and were being escorted by the army to the Kaduna capital for medical tests before being reunited with their families.

Kaduna governor Uba Sani said the country's National Security Adviser coordinated the release of the schoolchildren, but did not provide details.

"The Nigerian Army also deserves special commendation for showing that with courage, determination and commitment, criminal elements can be degraded and security restored in our communities," Mr Sani said.

Last week, the gunmen demanded 1 billion naira ($1.1 million) for the release of the missing children and staff.

However, the government said it would not pay any ransom, after the practice was outlawed in 2022.

Abductions at Nigerian schools were first carried out by jihadist group Boko Haram, which seized 276 students from a girls' school in Chibok in north-eastern Borno State a decade ago. Some of the girls have never been released.

The tactic has since been widely adopted by criminal gangs without ideological affiliation seeking ransom payments.

Kidnappings by criminal gangs demanding ransoms have become an almost daily occurrence, especially in northern Nigeria, tearing apart families and communities who have to pool savings to pay ransoms, often forcing them to sell land, cattle and grain to secure their loved ones' release.