The authorities in a state located in northwest Nigeria announced the release of all the students who were kidnapped from their school last Friday and that they arrived at the headquarters of the government.
"I am delighted to announce that the girls who have been kidnapped are now free. They have just arrived at the seat of government and are in good health," said Zamfara State Governor Bello Mattawali.
The authorities initially announced that 317 schoolgirls were kidnapped during an attack by hundreds of armed men on the "governmental girls' secondary school" in the remote village of Janjibi, last Friday.
But Mattawali clarified today that "the total number of girls who were kidnapped in the school is 279 ... all of them are with us here now. We thank God."
The attack, which was carried out on Friday, is the fourth targeting a school in less than three months in the northwest of the country, where, for more than ten years, armed gangs have been carrying out large-scale operations to steal cattle and kidnap in exchange for a ransom.
A student in an ambulance shortly after her release (Reuters)
The authorities in Nigeria usually hold talks with these criminal groups and have been negotiating with them for more than a year to surrender their weapons.
The army was deployed to the area in 2016, and a peace agreement was signed with those described locally as "bandits" in 2019, but the attacks continued.
Last December, more than 300 students were kidnapped from a school in Kanakra, in the state of Katsina, from which President Muhammadu Buhari hails, while he was on a visit to the region.
They were later released, but the incident sparked widespread anger and brought to mind the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls by gunmen in Chibok, which shocked the world.