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Nigerian gunmen free more kidnapped students

The gunmen released 32 students kidnapped from a Baptist school, a day after nearly 100 pupils snatched from an Islamic seminary in northwest Niger State were reunited with their parents after three months in captivity.

Students from Tegina’s Salihu Tanko Islamic School who were abducted three months ago by gunmen, sit at the government house after their release, in Minna, Nigeria on August 27, 2021 (Reuters)

Nigerian gunmen have freed 32 more students kidnapped in July from a Baptist school in northwest Kaduna state, a church leader and family representative have said.

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The news came just hours after nearly 100 pupils snatched from an Islamic seminary in northwest Niger State were reunited with their parents after three months in captivity.

The two mass abductions were part of a string of kidnapping for ransom attacks on Nigerian schools and colleges this year by heavily armed gangs known locally as bandits.

Violence on rise

In July, a gang snatched more than 100 students from the Baptist high school in Kaduna, and since then dozens of pupils have been steadily freed or have escaped.

“The bandits released 32 more of the students today Friday. We still have 31 in captivity and we have hope they will be released soon,” family representative Reverend Joseph Hayab told AFP.

“As with previous students, we had to pay ransom to have them freed but I don’t want to reveal the amount.”

On Thursday, gunmen released 92 pupils kidnapped in May from an Islamic seminary in Niger state. One pupil had died during their nearly 90-day captivity, school officials said.

Nigeria’s northwest and central states have been caught up in a surge in violence from the heavily armed criminal gangs who loot villages, steal cattle and carry out mass kidnappings.

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