Kidnapped Nigerian boys handed back Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 1, 2021

More than 300 Nigerian schoolboys kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamist militants last Friday have been handed over to security agencies, state governor Aminu Masari said on Thursday.

Local media quoted Masari as saying that 344 students were freed and are currently safe in Tsafe local government area of Zamfara state,.

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He said they will be brought back to Kankara on Friday.

The schoolchildren were abducted on December 11 from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina state.

The students pleaded for help in a new video released on Thursday by the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of the terrorist organization, Boko Haram.

Hundreds of students, all boys, were abducted when suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked their school on Friday night.

The gunmen broke the school gate, fired many shots and gathered the students, telling them they were security operatives.

Days after, the government said troops had located and surrounded their captors and were ready to rescue the students. But the claim did not materialize, as the students have been in captivity now for almost a week.

In the video released on Thursday, one of the boys who spoke both in English and Hausa said they were 520 in number, adding that some of them were killed by the terrorists when the government sent troops to rescue them.

The governor of Katsina state, Aminu Masari, had said 333 were captured or missing.https://www.youtube.com/embed/wprd4IY2Y6U?feature=oembed

The boy pleaded with the government to negotiate with their captors and pay them a ransom. He advised against a military intervention.

“We have been caught by the gangs of Abu Shekau; some of us were killed,” the boy said.

On the background, some of the boys were seen crying.

As he spoke, a young member of Boko Haram could be seen standing in the midst of the abducted students wearing a military uniform, a face mask and carrying an assault rifle.

The abductors said in the video that they kidnapped the students because the government reportedly refused to stop killing and arresting Fulani.

“We did this because you refused to sop killing and arresting Fulani,” one of them said.

The student who spoke in the video then pleaded with the government to stop attacking Boko Haram. “All the armies that you sent here can do nothing to them,” he said, urging the government to “dissolve vigilante gangs and close down all types of schools, excluding Islamiyya.”

Islamiyya schools are Qur’anic schools. Boko Haram believes western education is evil, although many often use products of science and technology, including assault weapons, phones and laptops

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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