Nigerian kidnappers free 10 more students: representative

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One of the parents of the abducted students of Bethel Baptist High School, reacts inside the school premises as parents pray for the return of their children whom were abducted by gunmen.
One of the parents of the abducted students of Bethel Baptist High School, reacts inside the school premises as parents pray for the return of their children whom were abducted by gunmen.
Kola Sulaimon / AFP

Gunmen who kidnapped more than 100 students from a high school in northwest Nigeria months ago have released 10 more of the hostages, the head of a parents association said on Sunday.

Scores of assailants stormed Bethel Baptist High School on July 5 on the outskirts of Kaduna city, abducting 121 students who were sleeping in their dorms.

The incident was part of a string of kidnappings by armed gangs known locally as bandits terrorising northwest and central Nigeria, looting, stealing cattle and seizing residents.

The gangs have recently targeted schools and colleges, abducting students to squeeze ransoms from parents and authorities.

Joseph Hayab, the head of the high school's parents association, said 10 students were freed on Saturday, as kidnappers release the hostages in batches.

He told AFP they had been reunited with their families.

So far 100 of the kidnapped students have been freed or escaped from their abductors.

"We still have 21 students in the hands of the captors and we hope to secure their release soon," he said.

Hayab said the negotiations with the abductors were "frustrating and agonising" as they keep releasing the hostages in batches and parents "are forced to pay hefty sums every time a batch is freed."

More than 1,000 students and pupils have been abducted in the north since December, though most were released after negotiations.

Last month, bandits freed 93 pupils abducted from an Islamic seminary in central Niger state after three months in captivity, following a ransom payment.

President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired general, has faced criticism for his government's inability to end growing insecurity in the vast west African nation of some 210 million people.

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