Nigerian Sunni jihadist group Boko Haram released about 190 captives, who returned to their community in the northeast state of Yobe between Friday and Saturday, while other people were still being held, local and state officials said.
“The people will be presented to the government on Sunday for assistance as their houses were set ablaze when the insurgents attacked the village, Katarko in the Gujba local council,” Goni Mali, a community leader of Katarko said.
Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for the state governor, said the militants released young men, women and children who were kidnapped on Jan 6. At least 20 other people were still being held.
Boko Haram has been waging a five-year insurgency to establish an Islamic state in the northeast of the country. Borno state is the worst hit followed by Adamawa and Yobe. Some of the women who were released said the militants let them go after they resisted following the rules of the group.
“They say since you have refused to accept our mode of religious teachings, go and follow your ‘Infidels’, we hereby order you to leave,” one of the women said.
The group frequently raids towns and kidnaps young men, women and children as well as some foreign workers. A German national was freed in Cameroon last week after being abducted in Nigeria’s Adamawa state in July.
In neighbouring Borno state, at least 14 people were killed and houses set on fire on Friday in a suspected Boko Haram attack on the village of Kambari, 5 kilometers from state capital Maiduguri, a military source and eye witnesses said.