Kidnapped Nigerian schoolboys reunited with their families

LAGOS, NIGERIA - MAY 01: Nigerian ssecurity forces stand guard as demonstrators march during a rally to demand government to rescue schoolgirls abducted by suspected Boko Haram militants. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

More than 300 schoolboys who had been kidnapped in northwest Nigeria returned home on Friday following their release on Thursday.

The boys, who arrived in Katsina’s state capital in buses, were dressed in dusty clothes, and many of them were barefoot and wrapped in blankets.

FILE PHOTO: Nigerian security forces stand guard during an event. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

They were taken to the government building to meet the state governor, Aminu Masari, and for medical checks.

They then went to a presidential meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari before been  reunited with their parents.

The parents were ecstatic to be reunited with their sons. “I couldn’t believe what I heard until neighbours came to inform me that it’s true,” one mother told Reuters.

The students were freed on Thursday night in the town of Tsafe in neighboring Zamfara State, about 82 km from Kankara town where they were kidnapped by a group of gunmen at the Government Science Secondary School on December 11.

Masari said no ransom was paid to the kidnappers whom he said were “bandits.”

Islamist militant group Boko Haram on Tuesday claimed it was responsible for the attack, but the Nigerian military and the Katsina government denied the claim.

Banditry, kidnappings and other criminal activities are rampant in some north, north-western and central regions in Nigeria.

The government vowed to step up its security operations to ensure that criminals are brought to justice and peace is restored in the nation’s volatile regions.

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