The long wait for the parents of the kidnapped children, in Kankara, December 15, 2020. -

Kola Sulaimon / AFP

In Nigeria, at least 300 kidnapped students have been released and will be able to reunite with their families.

These young people, kidnapped by the jihadist group Boko Haram, had disappeared last Friday in Kankara in the northwest of the country.

"344 of them are in the hands of the security forces and will be transferred to Katsina tonight," said state governor Aminu Bello Masari.

"They will receive care before being returned to their families," he added.

"It is a huge relief for the whole country and the international community", for his part tweeted the president, Muhammadu Buhari.

In the hands of the authorities

Hundreds of young people, middle and high school students, who had been kidnapped Friday evening by armed men, nicknamed "bandits" in this region of Nigeria.

They were kidnapped from Kankara State High School for Boys, in Katsina State, in an abduction later claimed by Boko Haram, usually active in the northeastern part of the country, hundreds of kilometers further south. East.

“No one can give the exact number,” a security source told AFP.

The released high school students are currently grouped together in the town of Tsafe, in the state of Zamfara, and in the neighboring town of Yankara, in the state of Katsina.

"We will have the precise figure when they will arrive and counted in Katsina (capital of the eponymous state)", added the same security source.

A figure still unclear

On Thursday, Boko Haram jihadists released a video of kidnapped high school students.

His face covered in dust and scratched, a young boy explained that he was one of 520 students kidnapped by "the Shekau gang", named after the historic leader of Boko Haram.

Their exact number remained unclear, the authorities announcing earlier 333 students missing, then 400 Thursday morning.

In this video, Boko Haram affirmed, through the voice of this young boy of about 14, that they were 520 in their hands, and that some had been killed.

The children, for the most part very young, appeared at the end of their rope.

Painful memory

According to AFP information, this mass kidnapping was coordinated by gang leader Awwalun Daudawa in collaboration with two other renowned bandits, Idi Minoriti and Dankarami, armed groups that terrorize populations in northwestern Nigeria, and carry out kidnappings for ransom and cattle rustling.

According to several testimonies from young boys who managed to escape, the hostages were divided into several groups on the evening of their kidnapping.

According to a security source familiar with the matter, the high school students who appeared in this video were those detained by Awwalun Daudawa, who responds directly to orders from Boko Haram, the others may be released following negotiations between the kidnappers and the local government.

This attack brought back painful memories of the kidnapping of more than 200 young girls in Chibok in 2014, for which the jihadist group was already responsible.

A total of 107 of the 219 kidnapped girls were rescued or released after negotiations.

But 112 are still missing and no one knows how many are still alive.


Nigeria: At least 110 civilians killed in jihadist attack


Nigeria: Hundreds of civilians "taken hostage" by jihadists

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