Anger and doubts as Boko Haram claims responsibility. More than 300 schoolboys kidnapped last week in an attack on their school in northwest Nigeria have arrived in the capital of Katsina state amid celebrations of their release.
Television pictures on Friday showed the boys, many of them wearing light green uniforms and clutching blankets, arriving on buses, looking weary but otherwise well.
The kidnapping had gripped Nigeria and raised growing concerns and anger about insecurity and violence in the country’s north.
In an audio recording released on Tuesday, a man identifying himself as the leader of Boko Haram claimed the group was responsible for the abduction.
On Thursday, dozens of protesters marched through the streets in the city of Katsina as #BringBackOurBoys trended on Nigerian social media.
The hashtag harkened back to a campaign launched to bring home more than 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram in 2014 in the northeastern town of Chibok.
The details of how the boys were released are still unknown. Idris said the government officials are “refusing to say anything about it”.
“They are insisting that no exchange of prisoners was done in exchange for the children, but a lot of people doubt that,” he said.
Criminal gangs operating in northwest Nigeria have killed more than 1,100 people in the first half of 2020 alone, according to rights group Amnesty International.
In the northeast, Boko Haram and its offshoot, Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), have waged a 10-year rebellion estimated to have displaced about two million people and killed more than 30,000.