Nearly 100 hostages rescued in northern Nigeria

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97 former hostages reached Gusau, the capital of Zamfara state, in the north of Nigeria on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the police announced men, women and children abducted more than two months ago had recovered their freedom. It is the end of an ordeal for the nearly 100 hostages who had been taken from their homes and along highways in remote communities in Zamfara and neighboring Sokoto state.

Among the former captives were 19 babies and more than a dozen children. Looking malnourished, weary and wearing worn-out clothes they were used to living in abandoned forest reserves that served as hideouts for the gunmen.

Weary and malnourished captives

Police said the hostages were "rescued unconditionally" Monday in joint security operations targeting the camps of armed groups that have been terrorizing remote communities across the northwest and center of Africa's most populous country.

The rescue brought a sigh of relief in Nigeria where armed groups have killed thousands and kidnapped many residents and travelers in Nigeria's troubled north.

In this part of the country, a decades-long conflict opposes large bands of assailants who are mostly young men from the Fulani ethnic group to the Hausa farming communities resulting in insecurity.

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