KATSINA, NIGERIA – Dozens of kidnapped schoolboys returned home on Friday, a day after being rescued by security forces in northwestern Nigeria.
Television pictures showed the boys, many of them wearing light green uniforms and wearing blankets, arriving in buses, looking tired, but at the same time well.
Gunmen raided the boys’ secondary school in Kankara city of Katsina state on Friday last week and marched around 350 of them in the vast Rug Forest. It was not clear whether all of them were recovered in the rescue operation.
In a file ruled by soldiers, none of the boys spoke in the government building, despite walking by bus. A group of his parents were waiting to meet with him again in another part of the city.
“I couldn’t believe that this was true until the neighbors told me,” said 16-year-old Hamza Naziru’s mother, Hafsat Fantua, in a phone interview.
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As soon as she heard the news, she said that she ran out of her house with joy “Na jaane kahan se” before returning home to pray.
Another parent, Hussaini Ahmed, whose 14-year-old Mohammed Hussaini was also among the abductors, expressed happiness and relief that he would soon be reunited with his son.
“We are delighted and are eagerly looking forward to his return,” he said.
Hours before the boys’ rescue was announced, a video began circulating online allegedly showing Islamist militants along with some of Boko Haram’s boys. Reuters was unable to immediately verify the authenticity of the footage or who released it.
The mass kidnapping has put pressure on the government to deal with terrorists in the north of the country, most notably on President Muhammadu Buhari, who comes from Catsina and repeatedly states that Boko Haram was “technically defeated” is.”