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Boko Haram: 344 kidnapped Nigerian schoolboys freed, says Kastina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari

The 344 schoolboys who were kidnapped last week by Boko Haram from a boarding school in north-western Nigeria have been released.

The abduction of the schoolboys was claimed by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

“At the moment, 344 of the students have been handed over to security agents. I think we have recovered most of the boys if not all of them,” the Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari told the state broadcaster on Thursday.

He added that they will be medically examined on Friday before making arrangements to reunite them with their families.

It was however not clear if the group of the released students included all the boys who were taken in the raid last Friday on a rural school in Kankara.

Masari said that during the rescue operation, security forces had cordoned off the area where the boys were being held and had been given instructions not to fire a single shot, The Guardian reported.

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“We had already established indirect contact to try to make sure that we secure the release of the children unharmed. We thank God that they took our advice and not a single shot was fired,” Masari said.

He revealed plans of involving the police and private firms in safeguarding the schools to prevent the “ugly experience of the last six days”.

President Muhammadu Buhari welcomed release of kidnapped students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State. He described “their safe return as a big relief to their families, the entire country and international community,” his spokesman Garba Shehu said on Twitter. “President Buhari specifically cited what he called the ‘spirit of partnership and the collaborative efforts of the government of Katsina, Zamfara and military leading to the release’. He commended the nation’s intelligence agencies, the military and police force for providing the environment for safe release of the hostages.”