In Nigeria, a hundred kidnapped villagers have been released.
Following discussions with their abductors, 100 kidnapped villagers in northwest Nigeria were released on Tuesday, authorities reported. They had been held captive for 42 days.
Looting, cattle theft, and kidnapping for ransom have long been a problem in northwest and central Nigeria, with heavily armed gangs dubbed “bandits” by locals.
In one case, gunmen invaded Manawa village on July 8, seizing 100 individuals, including women and children, and transporting them to their forest refuge, according to a Zamfara state police official.
Hostages are generally released after a ransom is paid, with those whose families refuse to pay often being killed by the captors — but Mohammed Shehu claimed that this time the release was “unconditional” and that it had been accomplished “without giving the gang any money or material gain.”
The bandits agreed to release the kidnapped villagers after the police and state authorities “assured them no action would be taken against them for the kidnapping,” according to a person acquainted with the negotiations.
Shehu stated that the rescued hostages would be subjected to medical examinations before being reunited with their families.
Bandit groups operate out of camps in Nigeria’s Rugu forest, which spans the states of Zamfara, Katsina, and Kaduna, as well as neighboring Niger.
The Nigerian air force has struck bandit camps in the past, while some northern states have attempted to deal with the gangs by providing amnesties in exchange for disarmament.
However, neither military deployment nor attempted peace agreements have been successful in ending the violence.
On Monday, 13 police officers were slain when they were attacked by a gang while deploying to safeguard a hamlet from an impending attack in Zamfara state.
The thieves have recently concentrated their efforts on assaulting schools and kidnapping youngsters in order to extort money from parents as ransom.