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Over 200 Nigerian school hostages released after abduction

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Over 200 students and staff abducted by gunmen from a school in northern Nigeria earlier this month have been released, the office of the governor of the state of Kaduna said on Sunday.

The kidnapping, which took place on March 7 in Kuriga, a dusty town in northwestern Kaduna State, was the first mass kidnapping in the country since 2021, as per Reuters reports.

Kaduna governor Uba Sani said the country's National Security Adviser had coordinated the release of the children. He did not give details.

"The Nigerian Army also deserves special commendation for showing that with courage, determination and commitment, criminal elements can be degraded and security restored in our communities," Sani said.

The gunmen had last week demanded a total of 1 billion naira ($690,000) for the release of the missing children and staff.

Kidnappings by criminal gangs with no ideological affiliation and demanding ransoms have become an almost daily occurrence, especially in northern Nigeria, tearing apart families and communities who have to pool savings to pay ransoms, often forcing them to sell land, cattle and grain to secure their loved ones' release.

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