15 other kidnapped students released

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – Gunmen released 15 other students who were abducted from their school in northern Nigeria last month, authorities said Sunday. The kidnappers are believed to still be holding 65 other students.

The students were released Saturday night, said John Hayab, president of the Nigerian Christian Association in Kaduna state and whose son attends the same school from which the hostages were taken.

Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna state commissioner for internal security and local affairs, told The Associated Press that the government has already been informed of the release.

Aruwan did not provide additional details, but local press has previously reported that the gunmen demanded a ransom of 500,000 naira ($ 1,220) for each student.

The perpetrators abducted students from Bethel Baptist High School in Damishi town on July 5. The kidnappers had previously released 28 hostages and later released 34 more.

As the parents of the released youths celebrated, hundreds more waited for news of their children.

Since December, more than 1,000 students have been forcibly taken from their schools in six northern Nigerian states, according to the AP’s tally of figures previously confirmed by police.

Although most of the hostages have been released, some remain in the hands of their kidnappers. The kidnappings have forced some state governments to temporarily close schools.

The kidnappers, known locally as bandits, often target schools located in remote areas that do not have an appropriate security presence.

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