Hundreds of teenage girls abducted last Friday from their boarding school in Jangebe in north-western Nigeria were reunited with their families on Wednesday.
State Governor Bello Matawalle had announced the release of 279 girls on Tuesday claiming that all were accounted for — a statement contradictory to the initial declaration of 317 missing girls.
Parents could be seen scrambling to enter the school building to find their daughters – eager to confirm their safe return.
Abdullahi Anka, the father of three released schoolgirls, is happy to have his children back – although he is yet to see one of them.
“Yeah, I hold her. I hold two of them. I was asking them, why is it (only) two of my daughters, you are three. They say, ‘we (were not) in the same motor’. So, I said, ‘what’s happening?’ She said, ‘they are inside’. So that’s why I released them to get inside the hall because I need to see them inside.”
Zamfara Officials said “bandits” were behind the abduction, referring to the groups of armed men who operate in the region — stealing livestock on a large scale and carrying out kidnappings for ransom or to push for the release of their members from jail. Criminal activity has persisted for more than a decade.
This latest mass abduction triggered the trauma of the Chibok incident in 2014 when the jihadi group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 high school girls.