Babies among nearly 100 hostages released in northern Nigeria

Nigerian police say that more than two months after being kidnapped by armed groups in the northwest of the country, 97 hostages have been rescued, most of them women and children

Abuja, Nigeria-Police said on Tuesday that nearly 100 hostages (including women and children) were rescued more than two months after being kidnapped by armed groups in northwestern Nigeria.

According to Zamfara State Police Chief Ayuba Elkana (Ayuba Elkana), of the 97 released hostages, there were 19 babies and more than a dozen children.

The former prisoners, mostly barefoot, tired, and wearing shabby clothes, slowly walked out of the bus that took them to Gusso, the capital of Zanfara state. Women carrying babies who appeared to be malnourished were left behind.

A few days after the security forces released 21 schoolchildren, the rescue operation gave Nigeria a sigh of relief, where armed groups killed thousands and kidnapped many residents and travelers in exchange for ransom.

Police said that on Monday, hostages were “unconditionally rescued” during a joint security operation targeting armed groups camps that have been terrorizing remote communities in the northwest and central parts of Africa’s most populous country.

They were abducted from their homes and highways in remote communities in Zanfara and neighboring Sokoto State.

The hostages slept on the ground in abandoned forest reserves, where the gunmen hid. Police Chief Elcana said that the first batch of 68 people “was detained for more than three months. They included 33 male adults, 7 male children, 3 female children, and 25 women, including pregnant/breastfeeding mothers.” .

According to the police, another group of 29 victims were also rescued “unconditionally” in the Kunchin Kalgo forest in the Tsafe local government area of ​​Zamfara.

It is not clear whether a ransom was paid for the release ransom, which is often the case in many remote communities in Nigeria’s troubled north. The authorities stated that their freedom was the result of military operations including air strikes.

Most of the attackers were young people of the Fulani ethnic group. They traditionally worked as nomads and were involved in decades-long conflict with the Hausa agricultural community to compete for water and pasture.