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Tears and singing as abducted Nigerian students return to parents

GlobalMay 07, 2021 18:48
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© Reuters

By Garba Muhammad and Bosan Yakusak
KADUNA, Nigeria May 7 (Reuters) - Nearly two months after
their abduction by armed gunmen, more than two dozen students in
northwest Nigeria's Kaduna state were reunited with jubilant
family members on Friday amid tears and celebratory singing.
Thirty-nine students were taken from a forestry college at
gunpoint on March 11. Ten were later released, and parents said
this week that two had escaped.
The remaining 27 told reporters they were held in a forest,
periodically beaten with sticks and guns, and allowed to contact
their families only to beg for ransom. Female students said they
tore their clothing to use as sanitary pads.
"The kind of torture, and all the insults, I will never
forget in my life," 33-year-old Fatima Ibrahim told journalists.
Ibrahim, who was two months pregnant when they were taken, lost
her baby during the captivity.
Other students hugged relatives and cried tears of joy upon
the reunion.
The students said they ate just once per day. The kidnappers
released them to police on Wednesday, but they were kept for
medical checks until Friday afternoon. Upon their release, some
were visibly weak and limping.
A leader of the parent group told Reuters a ransom had been
paid but declined to say by whom or the amount. The office of
Governor Nasir El-Rufai, who has refused to negotiate with armed
kidnappers, did not mention any ransom in its statements on the
abduction and did not respond to questions about payment.
Some 700 people have been taken from schools in northwest
Nigeria since December as observers say kidnapping for ransom is
becoming a cottage industry in the restive region. President
Muhammadu Buhari has called on authorities and families not to
pay. Many desperate families will do whatever it takes to secure
the safe release of their relatives.
Kidnappers have killed five students from Greenfield
University, also in Kaduna, and have threatened to kill more if
ransoms are not paid.

Tears and singing as abducted Nigerian students return to parents
 

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