Kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls freed

About 300 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by armed men from their school in the Nigerian North West province of Zamfara, have now been rescued and freed.  

Yusuf Idris, a spokesman for the regional governor Bello Matawalle, said Tuesday that all 279 girls had been safely returned and were all accounted for. 

“It gladdens my heart to announce the release of the abducted students… from captivity,” Governor Bello Matawalle wrote on Twitter. 

“This follows the scaling of several hurdles laid against our efforts,” he added. “I enjoin all well-meaning Nigerians to rejoice with us as our daughters are now safe.” 

UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed relief at the reported release of the girls abducted in an attack on their school in Jangebe in Zamfara state, northwest Nigeria “While we rejoice at the release of the schoolgirls and look forward to their safe return to their families, we reiterate that attacks on students and schools are not only reprehensible but a violation of the right of children to an education”, Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative, said in a statement.  “It is a right that any society can ill-afford to violate”, he stressed.  Mr. Hawkins called on the authorities to “take all measures” to protect schools in the country so that children will not be fearful of going to school, and parents afraid of sending their children to class. 

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