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Nigerian Gunmen Free Some Kidnapped Students, Scores Still Held

FILE - Parents attend a meeting at the Salihu Tanko Islamic school in Tegina, Niger state, Nigeria, Aug. 10, 2021. Gunmen raided the school May 30, kidnapping 136 students.

Gunmen in Nigeria have freed some of students they kidnapped in May from an Islamic school in Niger state.

The head teacher of Salihu Tanko Islamiyya school in Niger state, Alhassan Abubakar, says the gunmen Thursday night released a number of students who had been held since May.

Alhassan told local media the kidnappers dropped them off in neighboring Kaduna state.

This Day media reported the students are meeting Friday with Nigerian officials before being reunited with their families.

Nigerian media report the families of the students twice paid ransoms to the bandits before their release.

Armed men raided the school on May 30 and kidnapped 136 students.

Nigerian media report six of the students died in captivity and 15 escaped in June.

Gunmen on Sunday released 15 hostages from a July raid on a Baptist high school in northwest Kaduna state.

A representative of the family told AFP they were released after a ransom was paid but 56 of 121 students were still being held.

Kidnap-for-ransom criminal groups, known locally as bandits, have been targeting Nigerian schools in a series of brazen attacks.

They have kidnapped more than 1,000 students since December from schools and colleges across northern Nigeria.

Most have been freed through ransoms and negotiations, but scores are still being held in dense forests.

Some information for this report came from Agence France-Presse.