Nigerian Boys Seized in a Mass Abduction

Katsina, Nigeria, Dec 18 (AFP/APP): Exhausted and disheveled, several hundred Nigerian schoolboys seized in a mass abduction claimed by Boko Haram experienced their first full day of freedom on Friday after a nearly week-long ordeal.

But relief at their survival mingled with concern that many others could still be captive, and the circumstances of their release remained unclear. Looking dirty, worn-out, and distraught, and most of them without shoes, the boys were brought to the governor’s office in Katsina, the capital of Katsina state in northwestern Nigeria, after being released late Thursday.

One boy broke down in tears as he was being led into the hall for the reception by state governor Bello Masari. An official took a handkerchief and wiped the tears.

“I am happy, very happy that I will see my father, mother, and junior brothers,” said another, 14-year-old Ibrahim Sani, smiling but looking tired. Hajia Bilirakis, a mother who has been waiting anxiously with other parents, spoke of her exultation when she caught sight of her boy, Abdullahi Abdu-Rasaq, 15.

“I’m so excited… I have to cry, the cry of joy when I saw him,” she told AFP. Governor Masari said the youngsters had been traumatized by what they had been through.

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