A week after their mass abduction in the northern state of Katsina, more than 300 schoolchildren have been freed and allowed to go home. The region’s governor, Aminu Bello Masari, announced the release of the 344 boys. “This is a huge relief to the entire country & international community,” Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said. The boys were kidnapped last Friday from the Government Science Secondary School in the city of Kankara, in a brazen attack claimed by Boko Haram (as it was declared, at least). The boys freed on Thursday in Tsafe town in Zamfara state are not all of them. They arrived by bus in Katsina, capital of the state of the same name, where they were met by President Muhammadu Buhari.
They were also due to undergo medical checks. After, parents were reunited with their sons. It remains unclear precisely how the government obtained the schoolboys’ release but officials were engaged in talks with the kidnappers. The government insists no ransom was paid. One boy told a TV station the group had been fed bread and cassava during their captivity and that it had been cold.