Extremists Release Hundreds of Kidnapped Schoolboys

Nigerian government won't say whether it paid ransom
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 18, 2020 2:48 AM CST
More Than 300 Abducted Schoolboys Freed in Nigeria
Shoes of the kidnapped students from Government Science Secondary School are seen inside their classroom Kankara, Nigeria, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.   (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

More than 300 schoolboys abducted last week by armed men in northwest Nigeria have been released, a government official said Thursday. In an announcement on Nigerian state TV, Katsina State Gov. Aminu Bello Masari said the 344 boarding school students were turned over to security officials and are being brought to the state capital, where they will get physical examinations before being reunited with their families, the AP reports. "I think we can say ... we have recovered most of the boys, if not all of them," Masari said. He did not disclose if the government paid any ransom. President Muhammadu Buhari welcomed their release, calling it "a big relief to their families, the entire country and to the international community," according to a statement from his office.

Amid an outcry in the West African nation over insecurity in the north, Buhari noted his administration's successful efforts to secure the release of previously abducted students. He added that the government "is acutely aware of its responsibility to protect the life and property of the Nigerians." "We have a lot of work to do, especially now that we have reopened the borders," Buhari said. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for last Friday's abduction of the students from the all-boys Government Science Secondary School in the Katsina State village of Kankara. The jihadist group carried out the attack because it believes Western education is un-Islamic, factional leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video earlier this week.

(More Boko Haram stories.)

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