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Abducted Nigerian schoolgirls freed

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Abuja, March 2, 2021-
Hundreds of girls who were kidnapped from a boarding school in Nigeria’s Zamfara state last week, have been released, a local official confirmed on Tuesday.

The state’s Governor Bello Matawalle said that the girls, who were abducted from the Government Girls Science Secondary School in the Jangebe town on February 26, were released after a series of negotiations early Tuesday, Xinhua news agency.

“Following a series of dialogue and mediation with repentant bandits and scaling hurdles of those who want to scuttle our effort to secure the release of Jangebe schoolgirls, I am happy to announce that, the students have been released,” Matawalle said in a statement.

Local police said that a total of 317 students were abducted by gunmen from the all-girls secondary school.

But some local officials put the number at 279 on Tuesday, according to media reports.

The released schoolgirls arrived at the Zamfara State Government House in capital city Gusau, at about 4 a.m. on Tuesday and were reunited with their families.

The Governor insisted no ransom was paid for the release of the schoolgirls, adding it was a positive result of the peace accord he initiated.

“No ransom was paid to anyone. I insisted that we were not going to give anything to any of them,” he said.

Another state government official told Xinhua that an arrangement was being made for the schoolgirls for examination at a medical facility.

Reacting to the development, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said he felt “overwhelming joy”, adding that he was “pleased that their ordeal has come to a happy end without any incident”.

The Zamfara abductions were the second in the country in recent weeks.

Last month, at least 27 students were kidnapped from a boarding school in Kagara, Niger state.

They were released on February 17.

In 2014, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the Islamist Boko Haram terrorists in Chibok town, which drew global attention and condemnation.

More than 110 of those girls are still unaccounted for, while the remaining either escaped, freed by the military or died. (Agency)

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