Last week hundreds of girls were kidnapped from a boarding school in the Nigerian state of Zamfara. Now, the governor of the state has good news. Police were able to successfully rescue 279 girls who were kidnapped from their boarding school at gunpoint. Now Zamfara governor Bellwo Matawalle reported that the majority of the 317 kidnapped girls had been freed thanks to the hard work of the local police.
Last Friday, gunmen descended upon the Government Girls Junior Secondary School in Jangebe town. They used their substantial firepower to overpower the school and leave with the girls as hostages. This was only the latest in a series of kidnappings that have focused on students in Nigeria. The hundreds of victims taken from the secondary school included some girls who were as young as age ten.
Matawalle confirmed that all of the rescued girls would undergo a medical examination prior to being reunited with their families. The governor announced the rescue of the girls via a tweet on his official account.
“Alhamdulillah! (God be praised!) It gladdens my heart to announce the release of the abducted students of GGSS Jangebe from captivity. This follows the scaling of several hurdles laid against our efforts. I enjoin all well-meaning Nigerians to rejoice with us as our daughters are now safe,” Matawalle said in a post on Twitter early on Tuesday.
In addition to the raid on the school, the gunman also launched a simultaneous attack on a nearby military camp. This two-pronged approach prevented soldiers from stopping the abduction of hundreds of girls from the school because they were busy defending their camp from the assailants.
One victim told the A.P. what the night of their abduction was like.
“We were sleeping at night when suddenly we started hearing gunshots. They were shooting endlessly. We got out of our beds, and people said we should run, that they are thieves,” the young victim said. “Everybody fled, and there were just two of us left in the room.”
The girl confirmed that the kidnappers used their weapons to intimidate and threaten the children.
“I was really afraid of being shot,” she admitted. She added that the kidnappers wanted information from the girls that would help them find the staff quarters and the principal’s office. “We said we don’t know who she is. They said the principal is our father, and they will teach us a lesson.”
After the governor announced the rescue of the kidnapped girls, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his “overwhelming joy” at the positive outcome.
“I join the families and people of Zamfara State in welcoming and celebrating the release of these traumatized female students,” he said in a statement. “Being held in captivity is an agonizing experience not only for the victims but also their families and all of us.”
President Buhari urged citizens of the West African nation to be vigilant and to beware of bandits and kidnappers seeking ransom payments.
Experts fear that if kidnappings like this continue to go without harsh punishment, criminals may continue to plan them.
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