Bandits release students abducted in northwest Nigeria following ransom payment

A school bus, belonging to Bethel Baptist High School where unspecified number of students were kidnapped from, is seen in Damishi, Kaduna, Nigeria.

Six students and two officials who were kidnapped last month from a school in Nigeria’s Kaduna state were released after relatives paid ransom money, a school official and parent said on Friday.

Kidnappings by armed men, commonly referred to in Nigeria as “bandits”, have become endemic in northern Nigeria, disrupting the education of hundreds of thousands of children.

Gunmen attacked the main campus of the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic in Kaduna on June 10 and took students and staff members, in the process killing one student.

The college’s spokesman Abdullahi Shehu, said the students and officials were released late on Thursday at an undisclosed location.

They “regained their freedom after their parents and relatives negotiated with the bandits”, Shehu said, but declined to say whether negotiations involved paying a ransom.

A parent whose child was kidnapped said parents and relatives of the students negotiated with the gunmen and paid ransom money.

“I am not in position to tell you how much we contributed and paid. That is not necessary. The most important thing is that we have secured their freedom, period,” Saminu Bala, one of the parents of the freed students, said.

At least 10 institutions have been hit by kidnappers and around 1,000 students and staff abducted since December.

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