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15 Nigerian captives escape sleeping bandits

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A group of schoolboys walk in line after being released by kidnappers in Katsina, Nigeria, on December 18, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Fifteen Nigerian captives abducted by bandits who raided a religious school have escaped their abductors while the guards were sleeping.

Abubakar Alhassan, the head teacher at Salihu Tanko Islamic school in Tegina Town, told AFP on Saturday that the hostages had managed to slip past the bandits guarding them in a house in a remote village in neighboring Zamfara State while they were asleep.

Armed bandits stormed Tegina on May 30, kidnapping 136 pupils and some teachers from Salihu Tanko Islamic school in central Nigeria. The escapees were among those.

“They escaped by sneaking out of the house where they were kept after the guards forgot to lock the door from outside,” Alhassan said, confirming that the escapees comprised nine boys and six girls, including a seven-year-old.

They walked in different directions in order not to fall into the hands of other bandits in the forest and paved their way to Birnin Gwari district in Kaduna State through the night.

The 15 had been separated from the other group of hostages and taken across the state’s border into Zamfara, where they were “beaten and psychologically abused in the form of insults.”

All the escapees, including three teachers, were reunited with their families.

The armed gangs in northwestern and central Nigeria repetitively terrorize inhabitants by looting villages, stealing cattle, and taking people hostage. More than 700 students and school children have been abducted in Nigeria for ransom by armed groups since December last year alone.

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