Gunmen in Nigeria on Sunday, September 26, freed 10 students abducted in the northwest Kaduna state after collecting a ransom, according to a school official.
The Secretary-General for the Christian Association of Nigeria‘s (CAN) Kaduna state office, Rev. John Hayab said the students were released on Sunday afternoon.
This was nearly three months after they were seized by the gunmen in Kaduna. Their release comes about a week after 10 of their other schoolmates were also released.
Eleven of the 121 students of the Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna are still being held, Hayab said, expressing frustration at the refusal of the gunmen to release all the students at once.
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“If we have the power, we would have brought them,” he lamented when asked why the gunmen held back 11 students. “The bandits are the ones in control, we now have to play along softly and get our children back.”
He was referring to the gunmen who have abducted at least 1,400 schoolchildren in Nigeria in the last year, according to the U.N. children’s agency.
“Our anger is not with the bandits as it is with the government; because we can´t have a government that is supposed to protect us; and the bandits are having a field day. There is no day they have ever released one child for free,” the official added.
In the wake of increasing school attacks in the northwest and central parts of Nigeria; some governors have temporarily shut down schools and imposed phone blackouts in their states; as they struggle to contain security challenges in Africa´s most populous state.
The first mass school abduction in Nigeria was carried out by the Boko Haram extremist group in 2014. But Nigeria has witnessed more than 10 other attacks on schools in the last year; a sudden spike that authorities have blamed on outnumbered security operatives; in remote communities where the affected schools are mostly located.