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Hundreds of Nigerian schoolboys freed after kidnapping

Hundreds of Nigerian schoolboys freed after kidnapping
Released students gather at the Government House with other students from the Government Science Secondary school, in Kankara, in northwestern Katsina State, Nigeria.   -  
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KOLA SULAIMON/AFP or licensors

Nigeria

More than 300 Nigerian schoolboys are now walking free after they were kidnapped from their school in an attack claimed by Boko Haram.

Governor Aminu Bello Masari told state channel NTA on Thursday that a total of 344 boys had been freed. But it is unclear if all the boys were freed.

“We have recovered most of the boys. It’s not all of them,” he said.

The government says no ransom was paid and they negotiated with the kidnappers.

Masari said security forces had cordoned off the area where the boys were being held and were told not to shoot.

"We thank God that they took our advice and not a single shot was fired," he said.

The abduction occured last Friday at the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina state. was claimed by Islamist militant group Boko Haram in an unverified audio recording.

Who was responsible?

The attack was initially blamed on gangs, often called bandits, operating in the area, who often kidnap people for ransom, rustle cattle and trade arms.

But then Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed the attack in an unverified audio recording.

Boko Haram's abductions have traditionally taken place in the north-east, where the group is based.

In 2014, the group abducted some 200 schoolgirls in the northeastern town of Chibok.

Its name is loosely translated as "Western education is forbidden".

But there are many groups operating in the northwest, some of whom have declared allegiance to Boko Haram's leadership.

Pressure mounts on Buhari

The governor said the children would be given proper medical treatment and care before they're returned to their families

President Muhammadu Buhari said on Twitter it was a "huge relief to the entire country & international community".

But Buhari also asked Nigerians to be "patient and fair" as the government faces pressure over its handeling security challenges.

Protesters marched in the state capital Katsina on Thursday under a banner reading #BringBackOurBoys.

Buhari, who comes from Katsina, has repeatedly said that Boko Haram has been "technically defeated".

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