School children abducted in the Nigerian state of Niger 10 days ago were released, the governor said

Nigeria gunmen on Saturday released 42 people, including 27 students, who were abducted from a boarding school last week in the north central state of Niger, the state governor said.

Their release comes just 24 hours after a separate raid on a school in Nigeria’s Zamfara state where gunmen arrested more than 300 girls.

Kidnappings for the ransom of armed groups, many of whom carry weapons and bicycles, are common in many northern Nigerian states.

Last week, twenty-seven students, three employees and 12 members of their families were abducted by an armed gang that stormed the high school in the Kagara district of Niger State around two o’clock, which overwhelmed the school’s security details. A boy was killed during the raid.

“The abducted students, employees and relatives of the Science Collage Kagara government have regained their freedom and have been received by the Niger State government,” Governor Abubakar SaniBello said in a tweet

The latest attacks have raised concerns about increased violence from armed gangs and Islamist uprisings. The Boko Haram jihadist group is carrying out abductions in Nigeria’s turbulent northeast, as well as a branch of the Islamic State.

The unrest has become a political problem for President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired general and former military leader who in recent months has been increasingly criticized for high-profile attacks by gangs known locally as “bandits”.

Buhari replaced his longtime military chiefs this month amid escalating violence in Nigeria.

Violence and insecurity have exacerbated the economic challenges for the citizens of Africa’s most populous country and the leading oil exporter, struggling to cope with declining revenues due to a fall in crude prices in addition to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.