Nigeria: 100 abducted men released after 42-day captivity | News from Nigeria

The released hostages, who will now undergo a medical check-up before reaching their families, were abducted on June 8.

Police in the northwestern state of Zamfara in Nigeria have said they have secured the release of 100 abducted people in early June after negotiations with their captors.

Mohammed Shehu, a spokesman for Zamfara State police, said in a statement Tuesday that the release was “unconditional” and that it had been secured “without giving any financial or material gain” to the gang.

Shehu said the released hostages will be subjected to medical checks before being reunited with their families.

The group, including women and children, had been taken to a forest plateau after gunmen, known locally as bandits, stormed the village of Manawa on 8 June.

A source familiar with the negotiations told AFP news agency that the bandits had agreed to release the abducted villagers after police and state authorities “assured that no action would be taken against them for the kidnapping “.

Northwestern and central Nigeria have in recent years fallen prey to gangs of cattle thieves and kidnappers who raid villages, killing and kidnapping residents in addition to stealing livestock after looting and burning houses.

Criminals have begun to focus on school raids and student abductions for ransom. Hostages are usually released after the ransom payment, with those whose families fail to pay being often killed by the kidnappers.

These groups operate from camps in the vast Rugu forest, which crosses the Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna states in Nigeria, as well as in neighboring Niger.

On Monday, 13 policemen were killed in Zamfara state when they were ambushed by a gang while scrambling to protect a village from the impending attack.

Nigeria’s air force has in the past attacked bandit camps while some northern states have sought to negotiate with the gangs proposing amnesties in exchange for disarmament. But both military deployment and attempts at peace accords have failed to end the violence.

The air force said that during the past two weeks, daily and night flights over Zamfara, Kaduna and Katsina states had “neutralized” hundreds of bandits.

Sunday, intense rifles from bandits he crashed a Nigerian fighter jet in the northwestern state, but the pilot was expelled from the aircraft.

Such gangs are not the only threat to the northern region of the country where the armed group Boko Haram and its separate faction, the West African Province of Islamic State (ISWAP), have also carried out attacks for years.

According to the UN, armed groups have forced nearly 2.4 million people into Nigeria and neighboring countries to flee.

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