On Friday morning, Nigerian authorities announced that hundreds boys who had been kidnapped from their school in Kankara, Katsina state, in Northwestern Nigeria, a week ago have now been freed from capture.
Last week, a group of armed gunmen launched an attack on the secondary school and ultimately abducted over 340 children.
According to Katsina State Governor’s spokesperson, Abu Labardan, the Nigerian military managed to rescue 344 schoolboys on Thursday evening, and they have been received at the state capital by governor Aminu Bello Masari.
While earlier this week it was reported that the possible leader of terrorist group Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for the attack and abductions, Labardan added to his statement that Boko Haram was not involved in the attack, but rather a group of bandits imitating the terrorist group were responsible.
Earlier on Thursday a video containing the Boko Haram logo was released that showed a few school children addressing the Nigerian government. In the video, a boy who seemed to be pushed by somebody off camera, can be seen relaying the kidnappers’ demands.
These demands included asking the Nigerian government to close down schools that teach "western education". The video also shows dozens of school children under a tree, and a voice claiming to be Abubakar Shekau, a leader of one of Boko Haram's factions, can be heard.
CNN reported that upon reviewing the video, state governor Masari confirmed that the boys in the video were some of the children who had been kidnapped last week. However he questioned the voice claiming to be Shakau and claimed that it was bandits who were imitating his speech.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari responded to the news of the schoolboys’ rescue in a statement posted to Twitter. "This is a huge relief to the entire country & international community,” he said.
In response to the criticism the government has faced regarding Nigeria's persistent security issues, Buhari added: “I ask Nigerians to be patient and fair to us as we deal with the challenges of security, the economy, and corruption. We will not relent.”
In 2014, Boko Haram abducted more than 270 girls from a school in Chibok, Northeastern Nigeria, which sparked the #BringBackOurGirls movement. In 2018, another 100 girls from the town of Dapachi were kidnapped by the group — whose name means "Western education is forbidden" in Hausa.
Co-founder of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, Obiageli Ezekwesili, told CNN that she was "surprised" the government had allowed another similar kidnapping to occur.
"For me, whatever it is that happened on the ground, is a testimony to the fact that governance is ineffectual," she said.