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Auto Shows The first images of the 279 Nigerian teenage girls released after their kidnapping

16:32  02 march  2021
16:32  02 march  2021 Source:   nouvelobs.com

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  Les premières images des 279 adolescentes nigérianes libérées après leur rapt © Copyright 2021, L'Obs

Nearly three hundred teenage girls, kidnapped on Friday February 26 from their boarding school in Jangebe, in northwestern Nigeria, have been released. Images of their arrival at the Zamfara state government premises were released on Tuesday. “They are all here with us,” said the governor of this state, Dr. Bello Matawalle, “they are in good health”.

> See pictures

"The total number of abducted girls in the school is 279, they are all here with us, we thank Allah"

, added the governor.

The authorities initially claimed that 317 young girls were missing from the call after the attack on the boarding school in Zamfara state overnight from Thursday to Friday by gunmen.

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The facial features drawn by fatigue, the young girls arrived very early Tuesday morning at the seat of government in Gusau (capital of Zamfara) in several minibuses. The authorities gathered them in an auditorium where clean clothes, including a sky blue hijab, were distributed to them. In front of the journalists' lenses, the teenage girls then stood up to the broadcast of the Nigerian national anthem.

"Immense joy" from the Nigerian president

President Muhammadu Buhari, criticized for the catastrophic security situation in northern Nigeria, where he is from, expressed his "immense joy", in a statement published in the early hours of Tuesday morning:

"I join the families and people of Zamfara to welcome and celebrate the release of traumatized students"

, said the statement signed by its spokesperson Garba Shehu.

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President Buhari was first elected in 2015, a year after the mass kidnapping of Chibok, where 276 young girls were kidnapped by the jihadist group Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, sparking global turmoil.

More than 100 of them are still missing and no one knows how many are still alive.

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Buhari had promised to end the conflict in the northeast, but the situation has deteriorated significantly since then. As of Tuesday morning, a UN base and military camp were still attacked by ISIS fighters in West Africa (Iswap) in Dikwa, Borno State.

But if the northeast is still not secure, the northwest is also now under the yoke of armed groups, called "bandits", who terrorize populations, steal livestock, and carry out mass kidnappings for ransom. .

Targeted schools

During kidnappings, the “bandits” target public figures or travelers on the main roads. But in recent months, schools appear to have become a lucrative target for these criminal gangs. Friday's mass kidnapping was the fourth in less than three months in northwest Nigeria.

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The Zamfara authorities have become accustomed to negotiating amnesty agreements with the "bandits" in exchange for handing over their weapons. With each release, the authorities firmly deny paying a ransom to the kidnappers, despite the general opinion of security experts in the region.

Negotiating with the jihadists in the Sahel, an increasingly accepted option?

The "bandits" act primarily for profit, and not for ideological reasons, although some have forged links with jihadist groups in the northeast. Their number is uncertain, but these armed groups are attracting more and more unemployed young people from these regions where more than 80% of the inhabitants live in extreme poverty.

8,000 dead since 2011

This criminal violence has killed more than 8,000 people since 2011 and forced more than 200,000 people to flee their homes, according to a report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank published in May 2020.

The other worry is that the increase in these kidnappings will further worsen the dropout rate, especially of girls, in a region of Nigeria that already has the largest number of out-of-school children, according to the ICG. .

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