Gunmen release 100 kidnapped victims in northwest Nigeria

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LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Gunmen in northwest Nigeria have released 100 kidnapped victims, many of them nursing mothers and children, who had been held captive for about six weeks.

Police spokesman in Zamfara State, Mohammed Shehu, said Wednesday that the victims had been abducted from Manawa village on June 8.

The government “successfully secured the unconditional release of the victims” without paying any ransom, he said.

Armed gangs operate in Zamfara and other states in northwestern and north-central Nigeria.

The bandits who normally kidnap for ransom are blamed for the recent spate of mass abductions of schoolchildren in northern Nigeria.

About 800 children have been abducted from their schools since February when 27 boys and some teachers were taken from a college in Kagara, in Niger state.

The most recent incident of mass abductions occurred July 5, when 120 students were taken from the Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna. Those children are still being held.

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