Terrorists have released students of an Islamiyya school in Niger State, North-central Nigeria, almost three months after their abduction.
The pupils, numbering 136 according to an official count, were abducted from Salihu Tanko Islamiya school in Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area of the state on May 30.
Their abductors had initially released 11 of them due to their young age after one reportedly died in the early days of the abduction.
The remaining students were released on Thursday night, Aug. 26, in neighbouring Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria.
There has not been an official statement about the number of students released on Thursday.
But according to Voice Of America (VOA Hausa), Ismail Modibbo, Rafi Local Government Chairman, confirmed that 93 children were released.
The children were conveyed to Minna, Niger State capital, to be reunited with their families on Friday.
Their release comes after distraught parents and school authorities had scrambled to pay ₦50 million and six motorbikes to the terrorists, selling off their lands and other possessions.
HumAngle earlier reported how Abubakar Adamu, whose seven children were abducted, raised ₦3 million from selling his car and a parcel of land.
Tale of hardship
Abubakar Alhassan, the school headteacher told BBC Hausa on Thursday that the children had lived a tough life at the hands of the militants.
He added that some of the freed students were unable to walk, while others were bleeding when he met them.
“It was a scary situation, we cried when we met. They were very upset because they were living a strange life they were not used to,” he said in Hausa.
“When you see them, you will know they are starving, becauses they were only feeding bread while in captivity which is a very sad tragedy.”
Alhassan had on Tuesday, Aug. 23, said six of the children had died of sickness while in custody when the terrorists called to demand more cash.
The parents had cried of neglect by the government in rescuing their wards as the state governor Abubakar Sani Bello maintained his no-negotiation stance with the terrorists, going by President Muhammadu Buhari’s warnings to state governments.
The terrorists, locally called bandits, have continued their assaults in the region and neighbouring Northwest region with minimal suppression of government security forces.
On Wednesday, Bello visited Ma’undu town in Mariga Local Government Area of the state, which was devastated as his people fled to avoid militant attacks.
Stating that there were no terrorist camps in the state, Bello said that the “bandits usually come in from neighbouring states particularly Zamfara State to carry out their nefarious activities and go back.”
The governor said that only joint operations amongst the states affected by “the acts of banditry will bring an end to the nefarious activities of bandits and kidnappers.”
He called for synergy among the affected states,pointing out that individual state efforts would not yield the desired results.
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