The 344 boys who were freed Thursday after being abducted for almost a week have arrived in the Nigerian city of Katsina. The boys were taken from their boarding school during an attack by the radical terrorist group Boko Haram.
Family members already announced in interviews that they were delighted and relieved that their children return safely. Video shows that the boys arrive in buses at government buildings in Katsina. The boys look tired, but seem to be in good health, say witnesses.
One of the boys told journalists that they were beaten. “We were beaten every morning and evening. They fed us once a day and water twice a day.” They would have been given bread and cassava for food.
“ Little boys, big guns. “
The kidnappers told the boys to tell them they had been held by Boko Haram. However, the boy doubts whether this was really so. “I dont think it was Boko Haram, but it was just bandits. They were little boys with big guns.”
Authorities have informed that the boys were liberated on Thursday, but gave no further details of what exactly happened. It is not known whether ransom has been paid and whether all children have been brought back to safety.
In north-western Nigeria, children are often kidnapped by criminals or jihadists to get ransom. Notorious was the abduction of 276 schoolgirls by Boko Haram in April 2014, many of whom were imprisoned for years and still not all girls have been recovered.