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Hostages freed in Nigeria after armed gang hijacks state-owned bus in central region

FIFTY-THREE people held hostage after bandits hijacked a coach in Nigeria’s central Niger state were released on Monday, local authorities have confirmed.

Kidnappers freed those held, who included 20 women and nine children, after the gang seized a state-owned bus in Kundu village in the country’s largest state.

Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello said: “We went through one week of dialogue, consultations, hard work, sleepless nights, because we had to ensure that we secured at least within this shortest possible time.” 

But dozens of students and teachers abducted from a school in Kagara last week remain missing. Mr Bello said that “everything is being done to ensure they are released the soonest.”

The released hostages received medical check-ups before being reunited with their families. It is not clear whether a ransom was paid to secure their release.

Nigeria’s central and north-west regions are plagued by armed gangs, some of whom operate on behalf of jihadist groups, although their motives are thought to be largely financial.

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