Nigeria Gunmen Releases Around 300 Kidnapped Girls, Governor Denies Paying Ransom
The girls abducted from the northwest Nigerian state of Zamfara have been released building hopes for the country.
These girls were kidnapped at gunpoint on Friday.
Nigeria, the most populous African country of the world and the hub of multiethnicity is also famous for Islamist activities including kidnappings and abduction which is just not limited to a group of people but hold a much larger blade.
Recently, around 276 girls who were kidnapped from the Government Girls Science Secondary School (GGSSS) situated in Jangede have been released by the captivators.
The abduction has raised major concern for Africa's most populous country marking the inefficiency of the government. Kidnapping for ransom has created a void in the local hearts as the locals fear the government lacks action against the responsible groups.
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari said he felt "overwhelming joy" at the news of the girls' release. "[I am] pleased that their ordeal has come to a happy end without any incident," he said.
Zamfara state government Dr. Bello Matawalle tweeted about the release stating “Alhamdulillah! 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.”
The Zamfara governor further quoted that the girls who were kidnapped on gunpoint from the school were finally retrieved.
According to the authorities of Zamfara state, the release was the outcome of the Nigerian government’s negotiation with the Bandits, however the government officials deny this.
Around 300 Muslim girls in vails were taken to the government office on 2nd March, Tuesday and were allowed to sit in the hall before proceeding with the medical checkups.
Where the government officials described the girls were in good condition, the girls expressed the ill-treatment they received while the kidnapping.
One of the girls named Farida Lawali said “They carried the sick ones that cannot move. We were walking in the stones and thorns. They started hitting us with guns so that we could move. While they were beating them with guns, some of them were crying and moving at the same time.”
“Most of us got injured on our feet and we could not continue trekking, so they (their captors) said they will shoot anybody who did not continue to walk. We walked across a river and they hid us and let us sleep under shrubs in a forest.”
The girls counted their ordeal as they said they did not treat them with the best possible assistance allowing the girls to stay on shudders hiding from government officials.
While the girls pronounced their pain, some of the government servants including Yusuf Idris who is the spokesperson for the governor was quoted the girls were treated well and had almost no injuries.
Idris stated “The girls said the kidnappers treated them fairly. They were provided food but they didn't have a place to sleep, no bed or mattress and they had to walk bare feet. They said it was their worst experience in life.”
The Kidnapping, Ransom and Amnesty
Nigeria has been witnessing similar cases of kidnapping for ransom for years now.
In February, gunmen killed a student and kidnapped around 40 students, dozens of pupils and teachers in Central Nigeria. It was reported that the kidnapping was performed by a group called ‘Bandits’ who tragically killed and abducted people for ransom. The bandits totally had monetary intentions and follow no religious ideology.
Only two months ago, more than 300 students were kidnapped from a school in Kankara, in the nearby Katsina state.
Around three years from now, around 111 school girls were abducted by the Jihadists in Dapchi. It was later informed that the group involved in the snatch was Boko Haram. Boko Haram, formerly known as Jamā'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihād, is a jihadist terrorist organization based in Northeastern Nigeria, also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon. The group known for its brutality has killed hundreds of thousands of people and is responsible for displacing around 2.3 million people since May 2013. The group has abducted more than 200 girls in recent weeks and has been participating in the largest riots and raids raised in Nigeria.
Previously around 344 boys were abducted from all-boys Government Science Secondary School in the Katsina State village of Kankara. Boko Haram took responsibility of the abduct but the government accepted negotiating with another group called Bandits.
There are many similar cases when the groups kidnapped and threatened people for the sake of money.
According to the local authorities Bandits hide in camps in Rugu forest connecting the Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger and Katsina states. The location of these places might be another reason for increased kidnappings in these areas.
The kidnapping is not the only problem in a country like Nigeria which practically is surrounded by other mishaps including the intervention of jihadists group Boko Haram, piracy and ethnic clashes in South.
The government officials have been trying to control the regular kidnappings in the country and had conversations with the Bandits. The Nigeria government has had peace talks with the Bandits, providing them amnesty and money to continue the peace agreement.
Despite the unending efforts, Nigeria stands under the threat of abductions and killings.
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