JANGEBE, Nigeria—Gunmen released hundreds of girls who were kidnapped from a boarding school in Nigeria, bringing to an end four days of captivity that underlined the perilous security situation in the northwest of the country.
Dozens of armed men abducted girls between the ages of 11 and 17 from the Government Girls Secondary School in the town of Jangebe at around 1 a.m. Friday and marched them into a nearby forest. The abduction was the second in just over a week in Nigeria’s northwest, where a surge in armed militancy has led to a breakdown of security. Kidnapping for ransom has become a lucrative industry.
“Our daughters are now safe,” Zamfara state Gov. Bello Matawalle wrote on Twitter in posts accompanied by pictures of girls arriving at the state house wearing matching yellow headscarves. “This follows the scaling of several hurdles laid against our efforts.”
On the day of the abduction, authorities said 317 girls had been taken, but the Zamfara information commissioner on Tuesday said the number was actually 279, without giving a reason for the discrepancy.
Gathered in rows inside the wood-paneled ceremonial hall state house, the girls sat on gold-padded chairs while the governor hailed their rescue. Some stared ahead silently while others chatted, giddy with the excitement of being free.