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137 school children kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria released, undergoing ‘psychosocial counseling,’ official says

137 school children kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria released, undergoing ‘psychosocial counseling,’ official says
CNNAt least 137 school children who were kidnapped by armed gunmen in Nigeria earlier this month have been released, the governor of Nigeria’s Kaduna state Uba Sani confirmed in a TV interview aired on Sunday.

In the interview broadcast on Nigeria’s Channels Television, Sani said he had met with the children’s families.

“I am happy, the families are happy, we are all happy the children have been rescued,” he told the broadcaster.

However, Sani said that a teacher had died after developing “some complications” while in captivity, without providing further detail.

On March 7, more than 300 students were abducted by armed bandits on motorcycles who stormed the LEA Primary and Secondary School in Kuriga village, in Kaduna’s Chikun district, state police told CNN at the time.

Kaduna state, which borders the Nigerian capital Abuja to the southwest, has grappled with recurring incidents of kidnappings for ransom by bandits and has witnessed several mass abductions in recent years.

In an earlier post on X, Sani was seen addressing dozens of children and wrote that he was “glad to see our released children in high spirits on Sunday evening.”

He wrote that they would continue to “undergo psychosocial counseling” and receive “proper medical supervision.”

The gunmen previously demanded a ransom of 1 billion naira ($620,000) and threatened to kill all of the students if their demands were not met, according to a member of the community.

Nigeria’s National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu had coordinated the “operations of the security agencies, which eventually resulted in this successful outcome,” Sani said.

“The Nigerian Army also deserves special commendation for showing that with courage, determination and commitment, criminal elements can be degraded and security restored in our communities,” Sani said.

He also thanked Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu for “working round the clock” to ensure the children’s safe return.

With previous reporting from CNN’s Nimi Princewill in Abuja and Mariya Knight.

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