“They took us into the forest, we walked for 2 days with out having something to eat and so they had been beating us,” 14-year-old Murtala Sale instructed CNN.
“Some [of us] felt sick as a result of we had not eaten for the 2 days, they chose the sick ones and gave them meals to eat,” he added.
The kids, many with blankets and coated in mud, arrived on closely guarded buses earlier than disembarking and strolling barefoot previous traces of palm bushes into the constructing named after the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari.
The boys sat silently in entrance of microphones in a theater whereas Masari spoke to the press.
“I may even use this chance to reward and thank the efforts made by all the safety equipment,” he mentioned. “To the dad and mom, I believe let’s thank Allah for his mercies, we’ve got by no means given up hope.”
It was a memorable day for the state and the boys, he added, suggesting that the kidnapping ought to kind a part of their “historical past” and “journey to maturity.”
A 13-year-old boy named Jamilu Suleiman mentioned the abductors took the boys to a forest, the place they spent days strolling.
“They often give babies weapons and sticks to beat us simply to show and fulfill their worth. They gave us bread, a single groundnut cake, for all the day,” he added.
Ashiru Malumfashi, a father of one of many kidnapped kids, mentioned he was traumatized by the kidnapping and the situation of the kids.
“However the way in which the federal government has proven concern on the matter, we thank them and we hope that we do not get to see this occur once more.”
“We can not quantify the extent of trauma we’ve got been by,” one other father or mother instructed CNN from outdoors the state home. “My son’s identify is Ali Buhari… I’m not sending him again, I’m not sending him again [to school].”
Masari’s spokesperson, Abdu Labaran, instructed CNN on Thursday that Boko Haram was not concerned, however fairly the boys had been kidnapped by bandits masquerading because the Islamist terrorist group.
CNN has not been in a position to independently confirm this.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari greeted the information in a press release posted to Twitter, saying: “This can be a enormous aid to all the nation & worldwide neighborhood.”
Buhari additionally requested residents to be “affected person and truthful” to the federal government amid fierce criticism of the nation’s persistent safety points.
Masari has dismissed these messages and mentioned as an alternative that “native bandits” had been “mimicking” his speech.
Unicef, the United Nations company accountable for offering humanitarian help to kids, mentioned that far too usually in Nigeria, kids are the “goal of assault.”
“Assaults on academic services are a grave violation of youngsters’s rights,” mentioned the company’s Nigeria consultant, Peter Hawkins, in a press release on Friday. “This incident is a disturbing reminder of the heavy toll that violence takes on civilians in north-west Nigeria, together with kids.”
Whereas kidnapping for ransom by prison components has turn out to be extra widespread, an abduction of this scale is remarkable in Katsina State. It recollects the brutal kidnapping of 276 women from Chibok in 2014 by Shekau’s group. Greater than 100 of these women by no means returned house.