74 people, most of them children, freed in Nigeria after spending almost a month in kidnapping

A total of 74 people – most of them children – kidnapped on the 7th by armed individuals in the state of Zamfara, in the northwest of Nigeriahave been released after payment of ransoma local NGO confirmed this Sunday to Efe.

“Yes, we can confirm the release of 74 people out of the more than 80 kidnapped by bandits in the village of Wanzamai at the beginning of the month,” the secretary of the Zamfara Civil Society Coalition (ZASCON), Attahiru, told Agencia Efe. Mohammed.

“The captives, many of them boys and girls, were released after families and other villagers paid a ransom of 6 million naira” (about 12,000 euros), indicated Mohammed, specifying that the release occurred last Friday night.

The liberated “arrived at the village malnourished and dehydrated. Most are currently receiving treatment at the hospital, while the remainder have been reunited with their families,” the ZASCON secretary clarified by phone. Mohammed stressed that several people are still being held by the kidnappers and specified that he could not establish with certainty if any of the captives had been murdered.

“We hope that the others who are still detained will be released soon. We hope that all of them will be released alive. Honestly, I cannot confirm that no hostage has been killed,” added the aforementioned source. Efe could not immediately contact the spokesman for the Zamfara Police, Muhammed Shehu, to obtain information in this regard.

On the 11th, the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) He demanded the “immediate release” of the hostages, all of whom he described as minors, although they include women, according to ZASCON. The regional bloc, made up of fifteen countries (including Nigeria), “roundly condemned this cowardly terrorist act against innocent children” and demanded their “immediate and unconditional release.”

The Police, which initially reduced the number of kidnapped to nine, indicated that the victims were kidnapped in a forest where they went to collect firewood.

Some Nigerian states – especially in the center and northwest of the country – suffer incessant attacks by “bandits”, a term used in the country to name criminal gangs that commit mass robberies and kidnappings for large ransoms.

The violence continues despite repeated promises by the outgoing president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buharito put an end to the problem and the deployment of additional security forces in the area.

Added to this insecurity is that caused since 2009 by the activity of the jihadist group Boko Haram in the northeast of the country and, as of 2016, also by its split, the Islamic State in the West African Province (ISWAP, for its acronym in English). ).

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