ALL NEWS

344 kidnapped Nigerian boys freed, says state official

Dec 18, 2020, 6:19 AM
NIgerian soldiers walk inside the Government Science where gunmen abducted students in Kankara, in ...
NIgerian soldiers walk inside the Government Science where gunmen abducted students in Kankara, in northwestern Katsina state, Nigeria December 15, 2020. - Boko Haram on Tuesday claimed the abduction of hundreds of students, marking its first attack in northwestern Nigeria since the jihadist uprising began more than ten years ago. (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP) (Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

    (CNN) — Hundreds of schoolboys who were abducted last week in northwestern Nigeria have been freed, according to a state official.

More than 300 schoolboys were missing for nearly a week, after an attack on the Government Science Secondary School Kankara in Katsina State. The Nigerian military late on Thursday rescued 344 of them, and they have been received at the state capital by governor Aminu Bello Masari, according to his spokesperson, Abdu Labaran.

Boko Haram was not involved, he added, but rather the boys were kidnapped by bandits masquerading as the Islamist terrorist group.

CNN has not been able to independently verify this.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari greeted the news in a statement posted to Twitter, saying: “This is a huge relief to the entire country & international community.”

Buhari also asked citizens to be “patient and fair” to the government amid fierce criticism of the country’s persistent security issues.

“Our administration is fully aware of the responsibility we have to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians. I ask Nigerians to be patient and fair to us as we deal with the challenges of security, the economy, and corruption. We will not relent,” he wrote.

Some of the abducted children had addressed the Nigerian government in a video released earlier on Thursday, which bore the logo of Boko Haram.

In the video, a boy in a white shirt appears to be coaxed by someone off camera into making the demands on behalf of the captors. He asks the Nigerian government to close down schools that teach “western education” and says government troops sent to find the boys should retreat.

The video shows dozens of children under a tree, who appear tired. The voice in the video claims to be Abubakar Shekau, a leader of one of Boko Haram’s factions.

Masari confirmed to CNN on Thursday that the children in the video are some of the pupils who were kidnapped. However he disputed the voice claiming to be Shekau, and said instead that “local bandits” were “mimicking” his speech.

Earlier in the week, a man claiming to be Shekau had said the group was responsible for the kidnapping in a short audio message shared with Nigerian media and reviewed by CNN.

When speaking with CNN’s Becky Anderson on Wednesday, Masari did not dismiss the message entirely but cautioned that “more concrete evidence” was needed before it could be confirmed that Boko Haram was involved.

While kidnapping for ransom by criminal elements in Katsina state have seen a disturbing increase, an abduction of this scale is unheard of. It recalls the brutal kidnapping of 276 girls from Chibok in 2014 by Shekau’s faction. More than 100 of those girls never returned home.

In 2018, a breakaway faction of Boko Haram known as ISWAP kidnapped more than 100 girls in Dapchi. All but one was released weeks later, after negotiations.

Obiageli Ezekwesili, a co-founder of the #BringBackOurGirls movement and former education minister in Nigeria, said she was “surprised” the government had allowed another such kidnapping to occur.

“For me, whatever it is that happened on the ground, is a testimony to the fact that governance is ineffectual,” Ezekwesili told CNN’s Connect the World on Tuesday.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Image of the fatal crash in Draper on 11/25/22 (Photo courtesy of Utah DPS)...
Chandler Holt

Crash on I-15 in Draper leaves one dead

A Jeep and Toyota Tundra were involved in a crash late Friday night in Draper. The two vehicles were traveling in adjacent lanes on I-15 near 14100 South.
12 hours ago
Bodycam video released by authorities shows the good Samaritan trying to help the man on the tracks...
Tavleen Tarrant, CNN

Good Samaritan and NYPD officers rescue man from subway tracks moments before train arrives

A man was rescued from the New York subway tracks by good Samaritan and police just moments before a track arrived.
1 day ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
1 day ago
Police in Roy are trying to determine how a vehicle crashed into an unoccupied building Friday afte...
Mark Jones

Vehicle collides with unoccupied building in Roy, no injuries

Roy Police are trying to determine how a vehicle crashed into an unoccupied building Friday afternoon. The driver was arrested after fleeing the scene.
1 day ago
Debbie, left, and Chet Barnett place flowers at a memorial outside of the Chesapeake, Va., Walmart ...
The Associated Press

Walmart shooter left ‘death note,’ bought gun day of killing

According to authorities in Virginia, the Walmart shooter bought his gun just hours prior to killing six employees.
1 day ago
Dozens of residents were displaced after fire at a low income apartment complex in Richfield, Utah....
Mark Jones

American Red Cross of Utah seeks volunteers in central Utah

The American Red Cross of Utah is seeking volunteers in central Utah after a fire in Richfield earlier this week displaced 35 families.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
344 kidnapped Nigerian boys freed, says state official