After 48 in captivity, bandits have released 15 out of the remaining 80 of the 123 students abducted from Bethel Baptist High School in Nigeria’s Kaduna State.
The 15 students were released on Saturday night, sixty five others are still being held by the bandits who have been demanding ransom.
The release of the students was confirmed by Rev John Hayab, the Kaduna State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in North West Nigeria.
Bandits, in the early hours of July 5, 2021, invaded the school and kidnapped 121 students from the missionary school.
Mr Mohammed Jalige, the spokesperson of the state police command, also confirmed the release of the students but could not say if ransom was paid by the parents.
The abductors had released some of the pupils on July 25, 2021 after receiving N50 million ($100,000) ransom and later released a few others on health grounds while some escaped on their own.
Fresh ransom demand
The bandits have made fresh a demand of N80 million ($160,000) ransom to release the remaining students.
The freed students were handed over to their excited parents at the Baptist Secretariat on Ahmadu Bello Way in Kaduna by the president of Baptist Convention, Rev Israel Akanji, who was optimistic that the remaining students would be released soon.
“We are grateful to God for the release of these 15 children, although the number is smaller than what we expected because we had 80 out there; they have given us 15.
“But in everything, God says we should give thanks. We are grateful for what he has done. And we are trusting that the same God will help us to receive the remaining 63. We have great hope in God and we will keep praying and keep asking God for help.
“We do not know why they did not release all the children. But we are trusting God that others too will come.”
At least 1,618 students have been abducted since February 2021 by bandits in Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Niger and Sokoto states.
The abduction of students was first carried out by Boko Haram fighters on April 14, 2021 when the terrorists struck the Government Girls Science Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state, taking with them 276 students.
At least 100 of the schoolgirls are still being held by abductors.