Nigerian Security Forces Rescue Kidnapped Students 

The students had been kidnapped Sept. 1 in the northern state of Zamfara 

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Nearly 70 students kidnapped in northern Nigeria two weeks ago are free, authorities said Monday. 

 Zamfara state Governor Bello Matawalle said security forces freed the students from the Government Day Secondary School. He said no ransom was paid. 

Heavily armed gunmen kidnapped them on September 1, continuing a wave of similar attacks in Zamfara that prompted the state government to shut all schools. 

UNICEF said there have been 10 similar attacks in Nigeria over the past year, leading to 1,436 kidnappings and 16 deaths. 

In this incident, 73 students were initially taken, but five were rescued the day after the attack. 

"Using some of the bandits that repented, we were able to know where they were keeping these children. We worked closely with them for about 10 days, and yesterday at about 2 a.m., the commissioner of police, alongside others, took off to the location where these children were rescued," Matawalle said. 

Authorities blame the abductions on bandits seeking ransom, but some are fearful the bandits are linked to the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. 

Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press.