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Over 180 hostages were freed in Zanfara, Says Police

Nigerian government must also boost security along the country's northern border with Niger
Nigerian children and adults are seen after being freed from kidnappers in Zamfara state in northern Nigeria Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. In one of the largest liberations of kidnap victims, at least 187 p

At least 187 individuals, including babies, have been released in one of the country's largest kidnapping liberations, according to authorities.

The captives were freed from a forest in Zamfara state, where they had been detained for several weeks, according to Zamfara police spokesperson Mohammed Shehu. He stated that they were released "without conditions," implying that no ransom was paid.

The Zamfara hostages were released on Thursday as a result of "extensive search and rescue operations," which were aided by sweeping security measures such as the suspension of mobile phone networks and limitations on meetings and movements in the state, according to Shehu.

“The new security measures in the state have been yielding tremendous results, as they have led to the successful rescue of many abducted victims that run into hundreds, and (they) have been reunited with their respective families,” Shehu said.

Nigeria’s security agencies will continue working “to ensure the return of lasting peace and security in the state,” he said in the statement.

Armed robbers operating in remote forest areas in Nigeria's northwest kidnapped the people. Outlaw gangs on motorbikes assault remote villages, murdering, rapping, stealing, and kidnapping people. In the settlements they attack, the massive bands frequently outweigh the police and security. According to security experts, there are thousands of such robbers.

According to Abdulaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara state, which is at the heart of the crisis, the bandits are often better prepared than the Nigerian military. They shot down a Nigerian military fighter plane in Zamfara in July of this year, he alleged.

According to Nnamdi Obasi, senior adviser for the International Crisis Group, the security situation in northwest Nigeria has deteriorated in recent months, having an increasingly stifling effect on the region's economy.

He noted that, in addition to improving internal security, the Nigerian government must also boost security along the country's northern border with Niger. According to him, the location is a known path for bandits, who are said to camp in huge forest territories between Nigeria and Niger.

Border security must be taken as seriously as internal security operations, he said, adding that there is a severe lack of will to address the situation at all levels of government, including the federal, state, and local levels.

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