The kidnappers released the remaining 14 students who were held after being abducted last month from a university in northern Nigeria, officials said. Armed groups have repeatedly attacked schools and universities in northwestern Nigeria in recent months, kidnapping more than 700 students for ransom since December.
The failure of security forces to crack down on kidnap gangs has sparked protests against perceived government inaction. Gunmen stormed Greenfield University in Kaduna North West State on 20 April. They killed one person during the raid and, in the days following the attack, killed five of those they had taken hostage.
« Fourteen of the students abducted from the university have been released, » Simeon Nwakacha, a Greenfield University official, told Reuters news agency on Saturday. Kaduna State Security Commissioner Samuel Aruwan said the 14 students abducted from the university were released and found next to a road linking Kaduna and the capital Abuja at about 13:00 GMT on Saturday. But it was not clear whether the hostages were released for ransom.
Kidnapping for ransom has become common in many parts of Nigeria in recent years, with businessmen, civil servants and citizens kidnapped on the street by criminals seeking ransom. The gangs are largely financially motivated and have no known ideological leanings like Boko Haram. But there are concerns that they are being infiltrated by rebel groups.
« At least $11 million was paid to kidnappers between January 2016 and March 2020, » according to SB Morgen, a Lagos-based geopolitical research consultancy. In February this year, President Muhammadu Buhari urged state governments to review their policy of « rewarding bandits with money and vehicles ».