All abducted Nigerian schoolgirls freed by kidnappers
Gunmen have freed all 279 girls kidnapped from a boarding school in northwest Nigeria, the governor in Zamfara state said on Tuesday, the second time in less than a week that gunmen have returned kidnapped schoolchildren in the West African country.
According to earlier reports, 317 girls from the Government Girls Science Secondary (GGSS) School in the town of Jangebe were abducted by an armed gang at around 1 a.m. on Friday.
Zamafara state spokesman Sulaiman Tanau Anka told Reuters that some of the missing girls had run into the bush at the time of the assault, and the number of those kidnapped was 279.
All had now been freed, Zamfara Governor Bello Matawalle said.
Schools have become targets for mass kidnappings for ransom in northern Nigeria by armed criminal groups, in a trend started by Boko Haram, a terrorist group affiliated with ISIS (Daesh) and Al-Qaeda.
The raid in Zamfara state was the second such kidnapping in little over a week in the northwest, a region increasingly targeted by criminal gangs. On Saturday, gunmen released 27 teenage boys who were kidnapped from their school on Feb. 17 in the north-central state of Niger.
In 2014, Boko Haram abducted more than 270 schoolgirls from the northeastern town of Chibok, in Nigeria’s most high profile school kidnapping. Around 100 of them remain missing.
The Boko Haram terror group has killed at least 36,000 people and displaced two million in the past decade in north-eastern Nigeria.
More than 30,000 people have been slaughtered and almost 3 million displaced in a decade of Boko Haram's violence in Nigeria, says the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Boko Haram’s harsh violence has spilled over into the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, which have come together to create a joint military force to fight the terrorists.