Nigerian Police Confirm Release of Abducted School Girls

Gunmen in Nigeria freed hundreds of schoolgirls abducted last week in the northern state of Zamfara, the police said.

“They were released in the early hours of this morning,“ state Commissioner of Police Abutu Yaro said by phone on Tuesday. He didn’t provide further details.

A total of 279 girls were released, state Governor Bello Matawalle said on BBC Hausa radio. No ransom was paid for their release and none of them was hurt, he said.

Two recessions in four years and surging food prices have spawned a surge in student abductions by criminal gangs demanding ransoms for their return. The kidnappings are adding to growing insecurity in Africa’s biggest oil producer, where the government is struggling to deal with a decade-long Islamist insurgency in the northeast and increasing clashes between nomadic herders and crop farmers.

There have been at least five mass school abductions since 2014 in northern Nigeria. Four of them have taken place under the rule of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army general who came to power in 2015 with a pledge to improve safety.

Buhari has vowed to reverse the trend of abductions, while insisting the government won’t pay any ransom for kidnappers to free their victims.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.