42 people kidnapped in Nigeria’s Niger state last week, released

At least 42 people including students who were abducted last week in an armed raid from a state run school in Kagara in Niger state, northwest Nigeria, have been released.

The released group included 27 students, teachers and family members, the state government said in a statement at the time of the kidnapping.

The gunmen, wearing military fatigues according to witnesses, stormed the Government Science Secondary School Kagara on February 17. A student who died during the attack was named as Benjamin Habila.

The executive governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, tweeted that those released have been received by the state government.

This comes as 317 schoolgirls were abducted in the early hours of Friday when armed men raided a state-run school in Zamfara State, northwest Nigeria.

READ: Gunmen abduct more than 300 girls from school in Nigeria’s Zamfara state

The hundreds of schoolgirls were taken from their hostels by gunmen who raided the Government Girls Secondary School in the town of Jangebe.

Armed gangs often seize schoolchildren for ransom.

In December, at least 300 schoolboys were kidnapped by bandits in Katsina, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state. The students were later released.

The 2014 kidnap of 276 schoolgirls in the north-eastern town of Chibok by Islamist militants Boko Haram brought global attention to the scourge of raids on schools in Nigeria but the most recent attacks are suspected to be the work of criminal gangs.