Armed bandits operating in Nigeria’s North have released nearly 100 villagers abducted in Zamfara State.
The victims were abducted from Manawa, a town in the North-West of Zamfara.
The bandits had held the victims captive for 42 days before they were released. However, sources reveal that government authorities had negotiated with the bandits for their release. This is contrary to the claims made by the Zamfara Police Command that they had secured the release.
It remains unclear, however, if a ransom was paid for the release of the victims.
‘‘The Zamfara State Police in collaboration with the State Ministry for Security and Home Affairs have successfully secured the unconditional release of the kidnapped victims,” Zamfara State Police spokesperson Muhammad Shehu had told reporters on Tuesday.
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Further, Shehu added that the bandits had released the kidnap victims without any financial or material gain.
Equally important, he disclosed that the freed villagers would be medically checked and debriefed before being allowed to return to their families.
Nigeria is currently battling to rein in the activities of rampaging bandits; many of whom operate in organized gangs in the North. The armed groups are allegedly responsible for a spate of kidnappings for ransom, murder, rape and cattle rustling in the region.
Recently, the bandits succeeded in shooting a Nigerian Air Force fighter jet on air interdiction mission in the region. However, the pilot managed to safely eject and escape after landing in hostile enemy territory.