Habibu Iliyasu / AFP via Getty Images
More than 275 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted last Friday were returned safely, government officials said.
The Nigerian government has refused to pay a ransom for the girls, and officials have not said who is responsible. It is unclear whether the kidnappers were arrested.
The government initially said 317 girls had been abducted, but today reviewed the number of 279 without explanation. They were taken from their beds at the government girls’ high school in Jangebe.
Eyewitnesses told reporters that gunmen – some in uniform and disguised as security guards – arrived at the school in pickups and motorcycles around 1am last Friday (7pm on Thursday). They then “invaded the dormitories” and “forcibly evacuated” them.
The abduction and return of the girls are the latest in a series of other similar cases in Nigeria. On Saturday, a group of 42 people abducted last month were released from their captors. In December, 300 abducted students were released after negotiations.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Bukhari tweeted that the Nigerian government was “working hard to end these grim and heartbreaking abduction incidents.”
I join the affected families and people of Zamfara in welcoming and celebrating the release of the abducted students from GGSS Jangebe. This news brings astonishing joy. I am pleased that their ordeal ended happily without incident.
– Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) March 2, 2021