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279 ABDUCTED NIGERIAN SCHOOLGIRLS FREED

Hundreds of girls abducted from their school in northwestern Nigeria last week have been released, a government official said, Sam Olukoya and Kristin Palitza reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).

"The girls have been released," Zamfara State Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs Abubakar Dauran told dpa, referring to 317 children who had been kidnapped on Friday by unidentified gunmen in the town of Jangebe.


Thirty-eight of the kidnapped girls, however, still seemed to be missing on Tuesday, according to Zamfara State governor Bello Matawalle. The governor said 279 girls had been freed and were in safety.


"This news brings overwhelming joy. I am pleased that their ordeal has come to a happy end without any incident," President Muhammadu Buhari said on Twitter, promising that government would focus on preventing such crimes in the future.


Mass abductions are common in the West African nation.


They are sometimes carried out by Islamist terrorists, who force girls and women into marrying their fighters or becoming suicide bombers, and use other abductees as laborers. Other kidnappings are carried out by criminal gangs for ransom.


"We are working hard to bring an end to these grim and heartbreaking incidents of kidnapping," Buhari said. The president however also criticized local governments for paying a ransom to release abductees, asking them to jack up security instead.


"State Governments must review their policy of rewarding bandits with money and vehicles. Such a policy has the potential to backfire with disastrous consequences. States and Local Governments must also play their part by being proactive in improving security in & around schools," Buhari said in his post.



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