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Kidnappers have released 53 people abducted on a bus in Nigeria, including women and girls, while scores of others are still missing from a school in a separate attack.

In recent years, criminal gangs have escalated assaults, kidnappings, rapes and pillaging in northwestern and central Nigeria.

53 people, including 20 women and nine children, who were traveling on a state-owned bus in Kundu village in Niger State, were seized last week by a gang.

“I was delighted to receive the 53 … bus passengers who were abducted by armed bandits a week ago,” the governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, said in a tweet late on Sunday.

Whether a ransom was paid is unclear, but state officials have previously said that they would not pay any.

“We went through one week of dialogue, consultations, hard work and sleepless nights because we had to secure their release within the shortest possible time,” the governor’s spokeswoman, Mary Noel-Berje, said in a statement.

Before being reunited with their families, the freed bus passengers got medical check-ups, she added.

In a separate incident, 42 individuals, including 27 schoolboys, were kidnapped last week from school and are still missing.

“The Students of the Government Science College Kagara are still in the hands of their captives but everything is being done to ensure their release,” Noel-Berje said.

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