Nigeria: Bandits Release 15 Students After Parents Pay Ransom | Nigeria News

The students were among more than 100 students taken on July 5 to Bethel Baptist High School in northwest Nigeria.

Bandits have freed 15 other students kidnapped last month from a Baptist school in northwest Nigeria, officials said.

School administrator Reverend John Hayab told Reuters news agency on Sunday that parents collected and paid an undisclosed ransom to free the students, who were among more than 100 students taken on the 5th. July at Bethel Baptist High School.

“The students are already released and would be handed over to their parents at any time,” Hayab said.

Hayab previously said the kidnappers were seeking 1 million naira ($ 2,430) per student.

So far, 56 of the kidnapped Bethel students have either been released or escaped from their captors.

“We still have 65 more students with the bandits and we are working so that they can be released,” Hayab told AFP news agency on Sunday.

Kaduna State Homeland Security Commissioner Samuel Aruwan confirmed the release but did not immediately comment on the ransom payment.

Bethel’s kidnapping was part of a series of kidnappings by armed gangs known locally as bandits who have long terrorized northwest and central Nigeria, looting, stealing cattle and kidnapping for ransom.

About 1,000 students have been kidnapped since December after gangs started targeting schools and colleges. Most were released after negotiations.

But many hostages remain captive, including more than 136 children abducted in June from an Islamic seminary in Tegina, central Niger state, four of whom died in captivity.

On Friday, the gangs asked the seminary to send clothes for school children who have been wearing the same clothes for months, according to one of the parents.

“They phoned the school principal and told him to ask parents to send new clothes to the children because the ones they were wearing are in tatters,” Maryam Mohammed, whose seven children told AFP. are among the hostages.

Last week, nine students at an Islamic seminary were also arrested by motorcycle attackers in Katsina state, the second such incident in as many months.

President Muhammadu Buhari in February called on state governments to stop paying bandits, and Kaduna governor Nasir el-Rufai publicly refused to pay.

But desperate parents and communities often collect and pay ransoms themselves.

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