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UPDATE 3-Weak and tattered, 29 students freed in Nigeria's Kaduna

GlobalMay 05, 2021 23:30
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© Reuters

(Adds statement from the president and police)
By Garba Muhammad
KADUNA, Nigeria May 5 (Reuters) - Kidnappers have released
the remaining 29 students they were holding captive on
Wednesday, nearly two months after abducting them from a
forestry college in Nigeria's Kaduna state.
Gunmen took 39 students from the Federal College of Forestry
Mechanization in northwest Nigeria on March 11 and previously
released 10 of them. The newly released students arrived at
police headquarters in Kaduna city on Wednesday night looking
weak, forlorn and wearing dirty, torn clothing.
One female student could not walk alone and was carried into
the building, while another was rushed to the hospital.
Police did not allow journalists to speak to the students.
More than 700 people have been abducted from schools in
northwest Nigeria since December in a rash of kidnappings for
ransom in the volatile region.
Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai has repeatedly said his state
government will not negotiate with "bandits", as the criminal
gangs are known, or pay ransoms.
Abdullahi Usman, chairman of the parents' association, said
a ransom was paid for the students' release, but refused to say
who had paid or how much.
Friday Sanni, father of two abducted girls, said police had
not yet allowed parents to see them. As he waited, he fretted
over the fate of his daughters Rejoice, 17, and Victory, 19.
"We pray it is all of them," he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari released a statement that
welcomed the release of 27 students. His office did not respond
to questions regarding the discrepancy in the number.
Kaduna police spokesman Mohammed Jalige said all remaining
students had been released and would undergo medical examination
before their release on Thursday.
Samuel Aruwan, the Kaduna state commissioner for internal
security, said in a statement that the government rejoiced with
the freed students, and called on them to "put the past behind
and work hard towards a happier and successful future ahead."
He did not comment on whether a ransom was paid.

UPDATE 3-Weak and tattered, 29 students freed in Nigeria's Kaduna
 

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