Nigeria faculty assault: A whole lot of boys freed, native authorities say

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Hundreds of students kidnapped from a boarding school in northwest Nigeria last week have been released, local authorities told the BBC.

A spokesman for Katsina state governor said 344 had been released and all in good condition.

However, other reports suggest that some remain in the hands of their captors.

The attack was alleged by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which posted a video hours earlier that appears to show some of the boys.

In his statement, the spokesman, Abdul Labaran, said the boys would be taken to the regional capital, Katsina City, and would soon be back with their families.

He said the clip posted by Boko Haram was authentic, but a message apparently from group leader Abubakar Shekau came from an impersonator instead.

Authorities previously put a lower number than locals for the number of abductees and it is unclear if everyone is safe now.

State governor Aminu Bello Masari was quoted by Reuters as saying, “We recovered most of the boys. Not all of them,” while an AFP security source told AFP that some had stayed with their kidnappers.

Mr Labaran said none of the kidnapped boys were killed, contradicting one boy shown in the video who said some were killed by Nigerian fighter jets.

It is unclear how the boys’ release came about, but the news was confirmed to BBC Hausa by another government official.

What happened during the attack?

Witnesses said armed men came to school on Friday evening in Kankara city last week, and many students jumped over the school fence and fled when they heard gunshots.

Others were persecuted by the gunmen who led them to believe they were security guards, said students who escaped. After the students were rounded up, the armed men marched them into the nearby forest.

Image rightsReutersImage descriptionThe students left their shoes in the fight that followed the attack

A video with the Boko Haram emblem was released on Thursday showing dozens of boys, some of whom appear to be very young.

One of the boys said they had been kidnapped by the gang of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and that any government troops sent to help them should be turned back.

What’s the big picture?

Boko Haram is notorious for school kidnappings over the past decade, including one in Chibok in 2014 when nearly 300 school girls were confiscated. The group’s name loosely means “Western education is forbidden”.

However, these kidnappings have so far taken place in northeastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram is based.

Despite Boko Haram’s claims, the Nigerian government said the Katsina kidnapping was carried out by local gangs affiliated with the Islamist group.

Armed attacks and kidnappings are widespread in northwestern Nigeria and are often blamed for bandits, a loose term for gangs operating in the region.

According to Amnesty International, more than 1,100 people were killed by bandits in the first six months of this year, and the government did not bring the attackers to justice.

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  • The Nigerian city that lost its girls
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Related topics

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  • Boko Haram
  • Nigeria

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