Fourteen college students in the northern state of Cantuna Nigeria, were released by their captors, 40 days after they were abducted, a local police spokesman told AFP.
“Fourteen Greenfield students were released tonight,” said Mohamed Jalig.
“They were left along the road between Abuja and Cantuna,” he said, adding that he did not know if ransom had been paid.
The information was confirmed to Reuters by Symeon Nuakatsa, a member of the Greenfield Rector’s Office. “Fourteen of our students have been released,” he said by telephone.
On April 20, “thugs” stormed the University of Greenfield and abducted some 20 students, killing an employee of the institution.
Five of the students were executed by the kidnappers in the following days, in order to escalate the pressure on the families and the authorities to pay a ransom.
The local government in Cantuna, a state faced with high insecurity and a proliferation of kidnappings, called the executions “devilish” and “utterly inhumane”. At the same time, he called on the hostage families not to pay a ransom in order not to encourage further abductions.
Armed gangs, whose members the authorities generally call bandits, “thugs” or “gangsters”, have terrorized the population of northwestern and central Nigeria for the past decade. They attack villages, commit animal theft, kidnap people for ransom.
Attacks on educational institutions have multiplied in recent months: they have abducted at least 730 children and adolescents since December 2020.
The inability of the authorities to deal with gang action has sparked protests.