LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – Gunmen have released some of the children kidnapped from a school in northern Nigeria in May, some of whom were only 5, the school principal said late Thursday.
Abubakar Garba Alhassan told The Associated Press that the released students were on their way to the state capital, Minna, but added that he could not confirm the exact number of those released.
According to the authorities, 136 children were abducted along with several teachers when armed men on motorbikes attacked the Salihu Tanko Islamic School in Niger state. Other preschoolers were left behind unable to keep up when the armed men rushed the abductees into the woods.
Alhassan did not provide any information about her release, but the students’ parents have struggled in recent weeks to raise the ransom money demanded by their kidnappers. There was no immediate comment from the police at the Niger Governor’s Office.
However, the release came a day after local media quoted a parent as saying that six of the children died in captivity.
More than 1,000 students were forcibly removed from their schools during these attacks, according to an AP figure with numbers previously confirmed by police. Although most of the abductees have been released, at least 200 of their abductors are still being held.
The government is unable to stop the tide of ransom kidnappings. As a result, many schools have had to close due to concerns about the risk of kidnapping.
Gunmen demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom after a kidnapping at a university in Kaduna state earlier this year. They killed five other students to force the students’ parents to raise the money and later released 14 more.
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