Hundreds of boys that were abducted last week from a school in north-western Nigeria have been released, authorities said.
A spokesman for the governor of Katsina state said 344 had been freed and were all in a good condition.
In his statement, the spokesman, Abdul Labaran, said the boys were being taken to the regional capital Katsina City, and would soon be reunited with their families.
However, other reports suggest some remain in the hands of their captors.
The attack was claimed by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which hours earlier released a video apparently showing some of the boys.
Labaran said the clip released by Boko Haram was authentic, but a message seemingly from the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau was, instead, by an impersonator.
The authorities have previously given a lower figure than locals for the number abducted and it is unclear if all are now safe.
The state Governor Aminu Bello Masari was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying, “we have recovered most of the boys. It’s not all of them,” while a security source told the AFP news agency some remained with their captors.
Mr Labaran said none of the kidnapped boys had been killed, contradicting a boy shown in the video who said some had been killed by Nigerian fighter jets.
It is unclear how the boys’ release came about.
They were found in a forest near the town of Tsafe, in neighbouring Zamfara state.
The kidnapping is outside Boko Haram’s usual area of activity. Their operations have generally focused in the northeast of the country, though security analysts believe that their reach has shifted, after a security crackdown in that region.
There have been multiple kidnappings for ransom in Katsina State in recent years, but not on this scale.
Shekau’s faction of Boko Haram was behind the 2014 kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls in Chibok. Their captivity lasted years and many of the children were never returned after a negotiated release.
In 2018, a breakaway faction of Boko Haram known as ISWAP kidnapped more than 100 girls in Dapchi. All but one was released weeks later, after negotiations.
While these are the most high-profile examples, Boko Haram has abducted well in excess of 1,000 children since 2013, according to UNICEF.