Maduguri, Nigeria (Reuters)-Nigerian gunmen released 27 teenage boys on Saturday who were kidnapped by schools in the northern state of Niger last week, while security forces continue to search for more than 300 female students kidnapped in nearby states .
The school has become the target of large-scale kidnapping for ransom by armed groups in northern Nigeria, many of which carry guns and ride motorcycles.
On February 17, a group of armed groups kidnapped 27 students, three faculty members and 12 family members. They attacked the government science middle school in Kagara District, Niger State, leaving the school̵
After they were released, a Reuters witness saw the boys walking through a dusty village with armed security personnel. Some people stood up and asked for water. A government official said the boys were between 15 and 18 years old.
Governor Ababaca Sani Bello said in a tweet: “The kidnapped students, faculty, staff and relatives of the government science collage Kagara have regained their freedom and have been received by the Niger State Government.”
The raid occurred the day after 317 girls were captured by gunmen in a school in Zamfara state.
UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Peter Hawkins said: “When we welcome the news of the release of the kidnapped Kagara students, I urge the government to speed up the action to release and safely return the kidnapped students from the Government Girls’ Middle School in Janjebe. .”
Recent attacks have raised concerns about violence by armed groups and Islamic insurgents. A branch of the jihadist organization Boko Haram and the Islamic State carried out kidnapping in Nigeria’s turbulent northeast.
For the retired former general and former military ruler President Mohammed Buhari, unrest has become a political issue. In recent months, President Mohamed Buhari has faced increasing criticism for high-profile attacks by gangs known locally as “bandits”.
As the violence in Nigeria worsened, Buhari replaced his long-term military chief this month.
In December last year, gunmen raided a school in the northwestern part of Katsina State and kidnapped nearly 350 boys who were later rescued by security forces.
Violence and insecurity have exacerbated the economic challenges faced by citizens of Africa’s most populous country and the largest oil exporter. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, crude oil prices have plummeted, and these countries are struggling to deal with the problem of falling income.
The most high-profile school kidnapping incident was the kidnapping of more than 270 female students from the town of Chibok by Boko Haram in 2014. About 100 of them are missing.
(Reporting by the Maiduguri press room in Lagos and Alexis Akwagyiram; writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; editing by Toby Chopra and Alexander Smith)