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More than 200 Nigerian students released after abduction in northern Kaduna

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NEW DELHI: More than 200 abducted students and staff in northern Nigeria have been released unharmed days before a deadline to pay a $690,000 ransom, the office of the Kaduna governor said on Sunday.
The incident in Kaduna’s Kuriga on March 7 was the first case of mass abduction in Africa’s most populous nation since 2021 when more than 150 students were taken from a high school in the dusty town.
A decade ago, jihadist group Boko Haram was the first to carry out school abductions in Nigeria, taking 276 students from a girls’ school in Chibok, Borno State.
Some girls remain unreleased. Criminal gangs, unrelated to ideology, have since adopted this tactic for ransom. Kaduna governor Uba Sani mentioned the National Security Adviser’s role in coordinating the release of Kuriga schoolchildren but did not provide specifics.
“The Nigerian Army also deserves special commendation for showing that with courage, determination and commitment, criminal elements can be degraded and security restored in our communities,” Sani said.
Gunmen recently demanded 1 billion naira ($690,000) for the release of missing children and staff. The government, following the outlawing of ransom payments in 2022, refused to comply.
However, kidnappings by criminal groups for ransom have become a frequent occurrence, particularly in northern Nigeria.
Families and communities are left devastated, having to deplete resources and sell assets to secure the release of their loved ones.
(With AFP inputs)

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