All Nigerian students kidnapped from their boarding school on Friday in the northwestern state of Zamfara have been released, a local official said on Tuesday.

Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle said that girls, who were kidnapped at the Government Girls Science Secondary School in the Jangebe town on Friday, were released through negotiations early Tuesday.

“Following a series of dialogue and mediation with repentant bandits and scaling hurdles of those who want to scuttle our effort to secure the release of Jangebe schoolgirls, I am happy to announce that, the students have been released,” Matawalle said in a statement.

Matawalle said on Tuesday that the number of the students abducted was 279, while local police and some other officials said earlier that a total of 317 students were abducted by gunmen from the all-girls secondary school in Zamfara.

The released schoolgirls arrived at the Zamfara State Government House in the state’s capital Gusau, at about 4 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) Tuesday to reunite with their families.

The governor insisted no ransom was paid for the release of the schoolgirls, adding it was a positive result of the peace accord he initiated.

“No ransom was paid to anyone. I insisted that we were not going to give anything to any of them,” he said.

Another government official told Xinhua that an arrangement was being made for the schoolgirls for examination at a medical facility.

Hafsatu Anka, one of the kidnap victims, told reporters that they were laid in trenches littered with human feces.

“We saw other people, including women and children, and the father of one of our schoolmates, who had been in the kidnappers’ den for three months,” Anka said with tears in her eyes.

“They walked us on foot where some of us got dislocated on their foot. They fed us with rice, in which they put sand after cooking,” the girl added.

Xinhua