Nigeria kidnapped girls: Shots fired at Zamfara reunion ceremony

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image copyrightReuters
image captionThe shooting reportedly happened after frustrated parents threw rocks at government officials

A reunion of kidnapped daughters and their parents in Jangebe, Nigeria, turned violent on Wednesday when armed forces reportedly opened fire.

At least three people were reportedly shot at the official handover ceremony. It is unclear if there were any deaths.

Parents were said to have become frustrated at how long the ceremony was taking and started throwing stones at government officials.

The 279 girls were kidnapped by armed men while at school last Friday.

They were then freed on Tuesday.

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They were kept in the custody of the Zamfara state government, and given medical treatment in the state capital Gusau, before Wednesday's official handover ceremony.

UN experts have called for the traumatised pupils to receive urgent rehabilitation.

One mother at the reunion told AFP news agency that parents became angry at the length of the reunion because they wanted to get back home before dark, as the roads were unsafe.

The Zamfara state government has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Jangebe in response to the shootings.

Authorities also demanded that all market activities in the town stop until further notice, claiming that they had found evidence that such activities were helping criminals operate in the area.

The government's spokesperson did not explain how this was connected with Wednesday's incident.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari declared a no-fly zone across the state on Tuesday, and banned all mining activities.

No group has yet said it carried out the kidnapping.

But it is believed to be the work of criminal gangs who often stage kidnaps for ransom in Zamfara, rather than the Boko Haram Islamist group behind the 2014 kidnapping of schoolgirls in Chibok, hundreds of miles away.

The authorities have denied paying a ransom to secure the girls' release.

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