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130 Freed Schoolchildren Return Home Amidst Nigeria’s Ongoing Kidnapping Crisis

Over 130 schoolchildren, abducted in Kaduna, Nigeria, by gunmen, rescued after two weeks. Reunited with families, highlighting ongoing kidnapping crisis in conflict-ridden regions.

More than 130 schoolchildren have been rescued after enduring over two weeks in captivity following their abduction by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Kaduna state, Nigeria. The children, taken from their school in the remote town of Kuriga on March 7, were finally freed on Sunday in a forest located about 200 kilometers (more than 120 miles) north in neighboring Zamfara state.

Their arrival in Kaduna state on Monday marked a momentous occasion as they prepared for an emotional reunion with their families. Many children under ten were received at the Kaduna State Government House. They appeared with fresh haircuts and newly sewn clothes and footwear, which marked their first change of clothing since the harrowing ordeal of their abduction.

Despite the successful rescue operation, the situation remains somber, as six of the 137 students require continued hospitalization. Tragically, one staff member who was abducted alongside the children has reportedly lost their life during the captivity.

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Initial reports had indicated a higher number of students abducted, with school authorities initially reporting 287 students kidnapped during the attack. However, Kaduna Governor Uba Sani clarified that only 137 individuals were confirmed to have been seized, raising questions about the accuracy of initial information.

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Governor Sani refrained from divulging specific details regarding the rescue operation or any arrests of suspected kidnappers. Instead, he emphasized the paramount importance of ensuring the security of children in the region, cautioning against politicizing the issue of insecurity in Nigeria.

Since the infamous 2014 abduction of 276 schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants in Chibok village, the country has witnessed numerous similar incidents, with over 1,400 students abducted from schools. These abductions highlight the persistent threat posed by armed groups, who often target villagers and travelers for ransom, exacerbating the security challenges facing the nation.

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