Tears and songs when a kidnapped Nigerian student returns to his parents

Kaduna, Nigeria — Approximately two months after the abduction by armed armed groups, more than 20 students in Kaduna, northwestern Nigeria, reunited with their delighted family on Friday in tears and congratulatory songs.

On March 11, 39 students were struck by guns and taken from Forestry University. Ten were later released, and parents said two had fled this week.

The remaining 27 told reporters that they were trapped in the woods, regularly beaten with sticks and guns, and allowed to contact their families only to demand a ransom. The schoolgirl said she tore her clothes for use as a sanitary napkin.

“A kind of torture, and all the insults, I will never forget in my life,” 33-year-old Fatima Ibrahim told journalists. Ibrahim, who was two months pregnant when they were taken, lost a baby during prisoner of war.

The other students hugged their relatives and wept with joy at the reunion.

Parents and relatives of a kidnapped student at the Federal Forest Mechanization University in Kaduna have banners and placards during a demonstration in Abuja demanding the release of a family detained for 55 days in Nigeria on May 4, 2021. I will. (Kola Sulaimon / AFP via Getty Images)

The students said they ate only once a day. The kidnappers released them to police on Wednesday, but were detained for a medical examination until Friday afternoon. When they were released, some were visibly weak and dragged.

The parent group leader said Reuters was paid the ransom, but refused to say who or the amount. Governor Nacil El Rufay’s office, which refused to negotiate with the armed kidnappers, did not mention the ransom in the kidnapping statement and did not answer questions about payments.

According to observers, ransom kidnapping is becoming a domestic industry in the region, and about 700 people have been removed from schools in northwestern Nigeria since December. President Muhammadu Buhari has called on authorities and their families not to pay. Many desperate families do whatever it takes to ensure the safe release of their relatives.

The kidnappers have killed five students from Greenfield University, also in Kaduna, and threatened to kill more if the ransom was not paid.

Galva Muhammad and Bosan Yakusaku