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Dozens Of Kidnapped Nigerian Students Freed; Hundreds Of Others Still Missing

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Nigerian students kidnapped; some boys returned

Dozens of students abducted from a school in northwest Nigeria last week have been rescued, the state government announced Saturday.

Gov. Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state said that 38 abductees, including several staff members, were rescued around 4 a.m. Bello met with the victims, all of whom were present at a press conference Saturday afternoon, except for one who was being treated at a local hospital for exhaustion.

The victims, members of the Government Science College of Kagara, had been abducted Feb. 17 by gunmen in military uniforms. One student was shot and killed in the attack. Nigerian schoolchildren have increasingly become the targets of armed gunmen, who kidnap them in the hopes of securing large ransoms.

"They have been through tremendous torture," Bello said. "We are carefully watching their health and their condition." Bello said the victims would soon be reunited with their families, many of whom were waiting to take their children back home.

In an interview with the BBC, some of the students discussed the torture they faced at the hands of the gunmen who held them for a week and a half. 20-year-old Abubakar Sidi said the students were given little food to eat, and the particular punishment varied depending on what the student's parents did for a living.


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