A group of nearly 300 girls who were kidnapped from a school in north-western Nigeria last week have been released, a local official says.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday he felt “overwhelming joy” over the news that kidnappers had released hundreds of schoolgirls in northwest Zamfara state unharmed.
The girls were abducted by unidentified gunmen from a Government Girls Science Secondary (GGSS) School in the town of Jangebe, Zamfara state, on Friday and taken to a forest, police said.
The state’s governor said on Tuesday that the group had been freed and the girls were now safe.
In a Tweet, Buhari said he was “pleased that their ordeal has come to a happy end without any incident”. The release was secured through negotiations between government officials and the abductors, authorities in Zamfara state told the BBC.
Mr Matawalle has denied paying for the girls to be released, but last week President Muhammadu Buhari admitted state governments had paid kidnappers “with money and vehicles” in the past and urged them to review the policy.
Umma Abubakar, among those released, said many of the girls were unable to walk. “Most of us got injured on our feet and we could not continue trekking, so they said they will shoot anybody who did not continue to walk.”
In 2014, Boko Haram abducted more than 270 schoolgirls from the northeasterly town of Chibok, in Nigeria’s most high-profile school kidnapping.
Dozens of the girls from the Chibok school have not been returned home.