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30 Nigerian students freed after seven months

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AP) – Gunmen have released 30 Nigerian students who spent nearly seven months in captivity, a government official has said, the latest batch in the release of the dozens of Kebbi state students abducted in June.

They arrived at the Kebbi state capital late on Saturday along with one teacher, said a spokesperson for the Kebbi governor who did not give further details of their release. Kidnap ransoms for the release of hundreds of abducted students in the West African country are common.

The students of Federal Government College in Kebbi were abducted on June 17 when gunmen stormed their school in Birnin-Yauri, which is about 220 kilometres from the state capital.

Authorities have to date not announced the arrest of any of the abductors, who killed a police officer before they drove off with the students into nearby forests – a similar pattern to the abduction of more than 1,400 schoolchildren in Africa’s most populous country since the start of 2021, according to the United Nations (UN) children’s agency.

Local officials were silent on the exact number of those missing from the Kebbi school after the attack but residents had said there were more than 70.

The freed students “shall undergo medical screening and support while being reunited with their families”, Kebbi governor’s spokesman Yahaya Sarki said.

This is the third batch of Kebbi students freed since their abduction seven months ago, the previous group of 30 brought home in October.

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