Lagos, Nigeria, Mar 2 (efe-epa).- Nearly 300 girls who were kidnapped last Friday at a public school in the state of Zamfara, in northwestern Nigeria, were released Tuesday, according to the governor of the region, Bello Muhammad Matawalle.
“It gladdens my heart to announce the release of the abducted students of GGSS Jangebe from captivity. This follows the scaling of several hurdles laid against our efforts. I enjoin all well-meaning Nigerians to rejoice with us as our daughters are now safe,” the leader said on Twitter.
“This news brings overwhelming joy. I am pleased that their ordeal has come to a happy end without any incident,” Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said.
The 279 students were abducted on February 26 after a group of armed men – “hundreds” according to a school worker who told the News Agency of Nigeria anonymously – stormed the school at around 1 a.m.
It is the latest in a series of kidnapping incidents.
The Zamfara kidnapping, which authorities attributed to “bandits” active in the northwest of the country, came just nine days after gunmen abducted 38 students and teachers at the Government Science College in Kagara, in the western state of Niger, which was also guarded by security guards.
On December 11, 344 students were also abducted from a school in Kankara, in the state of Katsina (northwest), in an attack claimed by the jihadist group Boko Haram, which until then had limited itself to attacks in the northeast of the country, although the authorities blamed bandits.
The Islamist terror group was created in 2002 in Maiduguri (capital of the northeastern state of Borno) by the spiritual leader Mohamed Yusuf to denounce the alleged abandonment of the north of the country by authorities.
At the time it perpetrated attacks against the Nigerian state security forces, but since Yusuf was killed by officers in 2009 the group has spiraled into radicalization.
Since then, northeastern Nigeria has been plunged into a state of violence caused by Boko Haram, which seeks to impose an Islamic-style state in this country, which is predominantly Muslim in the north and Christian in the south.
During its campaign, the group has killed more than 27,000 civilians and has caused nearly two million displaced people, according to the UN. EFE-EPA