Abuja, Nigeria (CNN) – More than 90 hostages were rescued in various rescue operations in northwestern Nigeria, local police announced.
The police commissioner of the state of Zamfara, in the northwest of the country, Ayuba Elkana, said Tuesday at a press conference in the state capital, Gusau, that 97 kidnapped victims, including babies, lactating and pregnant women, were “rescued. unconditionally “in joint military operations carried out on Monday in the Shinkafi and Tsafe districts of Zamfara.
Among those rescued were seven pregnant women, more than a dozen babies between the ages of two and seven months, and 16 children between the ages of two and seven, police said.
The regional police chief added that the kidnapped victims were found “abandoned in the bush” and that they had been in captivity for more than two months.
Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, Zamfara Information Commissioner Ibrahim Dosara said Monday’s rescue operations were a joint effort of the state government and security agencies, including helpful intelligence reports from “repentant bandits. “.
“It was a collaborative effort between the state government, the security agencies and also the help provided by some repentant bandits who have been helping the government by giving intelligence information on the activities of the kidnappers that led to the liberation of the victims.” the senior state official told CNN. “No ransom was paid,” he declared.
In a series of raids, military operations targeted the hideouts of two capos known as Bello Turji and Ado Aleru.
Police claim Aleru was the mastermind behind the kidnappings. Both men have been linked to a series of kidnappings in the region.
Zamfara and its northwest neighbors have been besieged for many months by gunmen known locally as “bandits”, who have spread terror and been the masterminds of a series of kidnappings in the region.
Dosara told CNN that the kidnappers were forced to abandon the hostages after “intense pressure” exerted by government forces.
The Nigerian military has attacked the Zamfara forest reserves, which serve as a hideout for insurgents, in recent weeks with extensive military raids and multiple airstrikes.
“The government exerted intense pressure on the bandits by adopting a series of measures to facilitate access to their enclaves … That is why they decided to abandon the rescued victims,” said Dosara.
The rescued hostages will be reunited with their families after medical checks are carried out, police said.
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They rescue 97 hostages who had been kidnapped in Nigeria for months