April 13, 2024

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Kaduna, Nigeria: 137 students kidnapped by gunmen have been released, according to the state governor

Kaduna, Nigeria: 137 students kidnapped by gunmen have been released, according to the state governor

Sunday Alamba/AP

Parents await news of the kidnapped Korija Primary and Secondary School students in Korija, Kaduna, Nigeria, on March 9, 2024.



CNN

Armed men kidnapped at least 137 school children Nigeria They were released earlier this month, the governor of Nigeria's Kaduna state, Oba Sani, confirmed in a television interview broadcast on Sunday.

In the interview broadcast by Nigeria Television, Sani said he met the families of the children.

He told the radio: “I am happy, the families are happy, we are all happy that the children were saved.”

However, Sani said one of the teachers died after developing “some complications” while in captivity, without providing further details.

On March 7, armed bandits on motorcycles abducted more than 300 students and stormed the LEA Primary and Secondary School in Korega village, in Chikun district of Kaduna, state police told CNN at the time.

But according to Sani, all the children who were kidnapped in the incident have now been released. He denied previous reports of a larger number of missing children, describing them as “a figment of people's imagination.”

Kaduna State, which borders the Nigerian capital Abuja to the southwest, witnesses frequent incidents of kidnapping by bandits for ransom, and has witnessed several mass kidnappings in recent years.

In a previous post on the X website, Sani was seen addressing dozens of children and wrote that he was “happy to see our released children in high spirits on Sunday evening.”

They will continue to “undergo psychosocial counseling” and receive “appropriate medical supervision,” he wrote.

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Former militants He demanded a ransom of one billion naira ($620,000) and threatened to kill all the students if their demands were not met, according to a community member.

Sani said Nigeria's National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, coordinated “the operations of the security agencies, which ultimately led to this successful outcome.”

“The Nigerian Army also deserves special commendation for demonstrating that with courage, determination and commitment, criminal elements can be degraded and security restored in our communities,” Sani said.

He also thanked Nigerian President Bola Tinubu for “working around the clock” to ensure the safe return of the children.

With previous reporting from CNN's Nimi Princewale in Abuja and Maria Knight.