In an uplifting turn of events, 279 Nigerian schoolgirls have been released after being kidnapped earlier in February. After being freed, the girls seemed relatively calm and at ease, sitting in the Zamfara Government House conference room, dressed in matching blue hijabs and chatting calmly amongst themselves. The girls, all aged ten or older, were administered medical checkups before being returned to their parents.
Zamfara’s Governor, Bello Matawalle, told reporters the girls had been abducted in late February from their schoolhouse. The kidnapping, which occurred at Government Girls Junior Secondary School in Jangebe town, is part of an alarming pattern of escalating school abduction in the West African nation.
According to officials, local bandits were responsible for the kidnapping. The ruffians in question commonly kidnap children in order to extort their families for money, or to negotiate for the release of fellow bandits. Their crimes don’t adhere to any particular ideology, according to officials, they’re simply lawbreakers out to profit from criminal activity.