Hundreds of teenage girls kidnapped in Nigeria have been released

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The hundreds of teenage girls kidnapped last Friday from their boarding school in Jangebe in northwestern Nigeria were released Tuesday morning, Zamfara governor Dr. Bello Matawalle told Agence France Presse (AFP). “I am happy to report that the girls have been released. They have just arrived at the government house, and are in good health, ”he said.

“The total number of girls abducted from the school is 279, they are all here with us, we thank Allah”, added the governor.

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The authorities had initially claimed that 317 young girls were missing after the attack on this boarding school in Zamfara state on the night of Thursday to Friday by armed men.

An AFP journalist saw hundreds of young girls, wearing sky-blue hijabs, gathered at the government house.

Ransom exchange denied by authorities

It was the fourth attack on schools in less than three months in northwestern Nigeria, where criminal groups known as “bandits” have been escalating large-scale cattle raids and kidnapping for ransom for over. ten years.

Zamfara authorities are used to discussing amnesty agreements with the criminal groups with whom they have been negotiating for over a year in exchange for handing over their weapons. It was the officials of the state of Zamfara who had also negotiated the release last December of 344 boys who had been kidnapped by bandits from their boarding school in the neighboring state of Katsina.

With each release, the authorities deny paying any ransom to the kidnappers, but this is however little doubt for the security experts who fear that this will lead to an increase in kidnappings in these regions plagued by extreme poverty and little or no at all secure.

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The bait of gain

This new mass kidnapping had revived the memory of the kidnapping of Chibok in 2014, when the jihadist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 high school girls, causing worldwide emotion. More than a hundred of them are still missing and no one knows how many are still alive.

But these two kidnappings are to be distinguished: the “bandits” act above all for the lure of profit, and not for ideological reasons, even if some have forged links with jihadist groups in the northeast.