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Abuja (Nigeria): A group of 53 hostages, including 20 women and 9 children, who were kidnapped in central Nigeria, were released by their captors on Sunday, while there is no information yet about 42 people who were kidnapped last Wednesday from a school in Kagara in the same region.
“I was pleased to receive the 53 passengers on the bus who were kidnapped by armed bandits a week ago,” Niger State Governor Abu Bakr Sani Bello said in a tweet on Sunday evening.
The authorities did not provide any details on the terms of these releases. The authorities have always assured that they will not pay a ransom for the release of hostages kidnapped by “bandits”.
“We spent a week of dialogue, consultations and intense work over many long nights because we had to secure their release as soon as possible,” said Mary Noel-Birgi, a spokeswoman for the district’s governor.
It added that the 53 former hostages who were kidnapped near the village of Kundu in an official company bus, underwent a medical examination before reuniting with their families.
On the other hand, 42 people, including 27 students who were kidnapped Wednesday from a school in Cagara, also in Niger state, are still missing.
“The students of the State College of Science in Cagara are still in the hands of their captors, but every effort is being made to secure their release,” the spokeswoman said.
During two attacks in the same state last week, armed men killed ten people and kidnapped at least 23. The governor’s spokeswoman announced at the time, “We are witnessing attacks now almost daily, and this is worrying.”
The kidnappers are generally described as “bandits” and, unlike jihadists or separatists, they live in Rojo Forest on the borders of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states.
Northwestern and central Nigeria are the areas of action by these criminal gangs, which intensify their kidnapping for ransom and cattle rustling.
These criminal gangs are driven by the desire to make money, but some have established ties with jihadist groups based in northeast Nigeria.
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