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Almost 300 schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria are free, says state governor

Abbianca Makoni
·2-min read
<p>The return comes after thousands of people in the country and abroad took to social media to beg for their release of the students.</p> (AP)

The return comes after thousands of people in the country and abroad took to social media to beg for their release of the students.

(AP)

A group of nearly 300 girls kidnapped from a Nigerian boarding school by gunmen last week have been released, the governor of the state has said.

The return comes after thousands of people in the country and abroad took to social media to beg for their release.

Bello Matawalle, the governor of Zamfara State, said on Tuesday the girls were now safe with authorities and no ransom had been paid.

Hundreds of bare-foot students, some wearing masks, were captured by photographers waiting to be reunited with their families outside the government premises.

The girls had been kidnapped on Friday from Government Girls Junior Secondary School in Jangebe town, Zamfara state, around 1am.

An official embraces one of the victims.REUTERS
An official embraces one of the victims.REUTERS

After the mass abduction took place, the gunmen also attacked a military camp and checkpoint close to the school, preventing authorities from intervening in the abduction.

Lawani Adali, the security man on duty on the day, told Sky news that policemen and locals could not get inside because the gunmen had blocked all entrances.

Authorities initially said 317 girls were abducted in the raid but Matawalle confirmed that the total was 279.

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One official told the Reuters news agency that the inaccuracy was due to the fact that some girls had fled shortly after being abducted.

He tweeted: “It gladdens my heart to announce the release of the abducted students of GGSS Jangebe from captivity.

“Our daughters are now safe.”

The group’s release was secured through negotiations between government officials and the abductors, authorities in Zamfara state told the BBC.

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President Buhari said he felt “overwhelming joy” at the news of the girls’ release. “[I am] pleased that their ordeal has come to a happy end without any incident,” he said.

Their release comes just weeks after the recent abduction of six staff and eight relatives from the Government Science College Kagara in Niger state on February 17 - they were released last month.

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