Gunmen in Nigeria have released 90 students and two other unnamed victims who were kidnapped three months ago in western Nigeria. The principal of their school in Tegina reported it yesterday.
According to the authorities, 136 children were initially kidnapped, but some of them managed to escape. A five-year-old boy died in captivity. The kidnappers initially claimed that six children had died, but this turned out to be a lie to frighten the parents into paying the ransom.
Ali Jimmy, who kidnapped his five sons, said, “Today is the happiest and most beautiful day for me and my family. We lost our joy and happiness. This is like a dream, after I started to lose hope.”
One of the rescued children told reporters they had been tied up all day.
Parents of the abducted children paid a total of 65 million naira (about 136,000 euros) and six motorbikes as ransom.
“We will do whatever is necessary to bring them to justice,” Niger state governor Aboubacar Sani Bello said of the kidnappers. “We have taken all necessary steps to bring to justice those involved in this heinous act.”
Nigeria has been battling mass kidnappings of school and university students by gangs since December for ransom. Authorities say 1,000 children have been kidnapped in northwest Nigeria since December. The government urges states not to pay ransom, but desperate parents and communities often collect the money themselves.
Today, the kidnappers released 15 students and four employees who had been kidnapped from an agricultural college in Zamfara state earlier this month.
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