Nigeria’s Boko Haram Takfiri group has reportedly released more than 300 school boys it had abducted from secondary school in Katsina less than a week ago.
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The boys, who had been spirited away from the Kankara Government Science Secondary School in Katsina State in northern Nigeria, were released on Thursday.
State governor Aminu Bello Masari said 344 boys had been handed over to security agencies.
However, many more are feared to still be in captivity, with some accounts alleging that the kidnapping involved upwards of 500 schoolers. Some who managed to escape the abductors have also alleged that some of their classmates died during a jungle trek that followed the kidnapping.
The freed boys were last seen being driven back home to receive medical attention.
They are expected to meet President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday. The head of state has said the boys “endured significant hardships in the course of their ordeal.”
The abduction, probably one of the biggest in history, and the feeling of widespread alarm that it has caused served to summon up memories of the terror group’s kidnapping of as many as 276 schoolgirls in the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria six years ago.
A foreign-brokered deal enabled the release of 103 of the girls in October 2016 and May 2017.
The terrorist group is also notorious for its barbaric mindset of considering those who do not subscribe to its radical ideology to be worthy of death at its hands.
It has pledged allegiance with Daesh, a similarly Takfiri outfit that rose in Iraq, Syria, and other parts of the world in 2014. Daesh was defeated three years later in the Arab countries but keeps staging sporadic attacks throughout their soil as well as overseas.