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More than 300 Nigerian schoolboys rescued, returned to families

“They took us into the forest, we walked for two days without having anything to eat and they were beating us,” 14-year-old Murtala Sale advised CNN.

“Some [of us] felt sick because we had not eaten for the two days, they selected the sick ones and gave them food to eat,” he added.

The kids, many with blankets and lined in mud, arrived on closely guarded buses earlier than disembarking and strolling barefoot previous traces of palm timber into the constructing named after the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari.

More than 300 schoolboys had been kidnapped within the assault on December 11 on the Government Science Secondary School Kankara in Katsina State. The Nigerian navy rescued 344 of them late on Thursday, and so they had been obtained on the state capital by governor Aminu Bello Masari.

The boys sat silently in entrance of microphones in a theater whereas Masari spoke to the press.

“I will also use this opportunity to praise and thank the efforts made by the entire security apparatus,” he mentioned. “To the parents, I think let’s thank Allah for his mercies, we have never given up hope.”

It was a memorable day for the state and the boys, he added, suggesting that the kidnapping ought to kind a part of their “history” and “journey to adulthood.”

A 13-year-old boy named Jamilu Suleiman mentioned the abductors took the boys to a forest, the place they spent days strolling.

“They usually give small children guns and sticks to beat us just to display and satisfy their price. They gave us bread, a single groundnut cake, for the entire day,” he added.

Ashiru Malumfashi, a father of one of many kidnapped kids, mentioned he was traumatized by the kidnapping and the situation of the youngsters.

“But the way the government has shown concern on the matter, we thank them and we hope that we don’t get to see this happen again.”

“We cannot quantify the level of trauma we have been through,” one other mum or dad advised CNN from outdoors the state home. “My son’s name is Ali Buhari… I am not sending him back, I am not sending him back [to school].”

Masari’s spokesperson, Abdu Labaran, advised CNN on Thursday that Boko Haram was not concerned, however moderately the boys had been kidnapped by bandits masquerading because the Islamist terrorist group.

CNN has not been in a position to independently confirm this.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari greeted the information in an announcement posted to Twitter, saying: “This is a huge relief to the entire country & international community.”

Buhari additionally requested residents to be “patient and fair” to the federal government amid fierce criticism of the nation’s persistent safety points.

Earlier within the week, a person claiming to be Abubakar Shekau, a frontrunner of certainly one of Boko Haram’s factions, mentioned his group was answerable for the kidnapping in a brief audio message and video which confirmed the youngsters.

Masari has dismissed these messages and mentioned as a substitute that “local bandits” had been “mimicking” his speech.

Unicef, the United Nations company answerable for offering humanitarian support to kids, mentioned that far too typically in Nigeria, kids are the “target of attack.”

“Attacks on educational facilities are a grave violation of children’s rights,” mentioned the company’s Nigeria consultant, Peter Hawkins, in an announcement on Friday. “This incident is a disturbing reminder of the heavy toll that violence takes on civilians in north-west Nigeria, including children.”

While kidnapping for ransom by felony components has change into extra widespread, an abduction of this scale is exceptional in Katsina State. It recollects the brutal kidnapping of 276 women from Chibok in 2014 by Shekau’s group. More than 100 of these women by no means returned house.

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