Hundreds of schoolgirls who were kidnapped last week from their boarding school in Nigeria have been released.
The girls from Government Girls Secondary School, located in the town of Jangebe in the northwestern state of Nigeria, were abducted at gunpoint on Friday by armed men and taken to a forest, police said.
The governor of Zamfara State confirmed the release of all 279 girls on Tuesday March 2, saying they had been “in discussions since Friday with the abductors and reached agreement on Monday,” according to AP.
Officials did not say if they paid a ransom for the girls’ release.
A video on Twitter by Daily Nigerian showed the girls moments after their release walking in barefoot past journalists, with some seen limping.
They arrived at the Zamfra government’s state house early Tuesday, wearing identical hijabs. A spokesman for the governor said the girls were in “good condition,” but some had open sores on their feet, which were given treatment, according to CNN.
They were reunited with their parents on Wednesday Mar. 3.
One of the schoolgirls, Umma Abubakar, recounted the kidnapping to reporters, saying “Most of us got injured on our feet and we could not continue trekking, so [our captors] said they will shoot anybody who did not continue to walk,” CNN reported.
She said they had to walk across a river and sleep under shrubs in the forest.
The girls’ abduction is the latest in the mass kidnappings of schoolchildren in Nigeria.
Just the week before, 40 children and adults were attacked and taken from a boarding school in Niger State. They were later freed on Saturday. In December, more than 300 boys were taken hostage by armed men in Katsina. The boys were freed a week later.
In 2014, 276 girls were abducted by Boko Haram in Chibok. More than 100 of those girls are still missing.
President Muhammadu Buhari said the news brought “overwhelming joy.”
“We are working hard to bring an end to these grim and heartbreaking incidents of kidnapping. The Military and the Police will continue to go after kidnappers,” he added.