The Nigerian military rescued the 344 boys who had been kidnapped last week during an attack on the Government Science Secondary School in Katsina. The rescue operation was conducted late Thursday by military forces.

Last Friday, over 100 gunmen on motorcycles had attacked the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, located in Katsina state. The school, which houses about 800 students, was ransacked. The schoolboys bolted for safety, but 344 of them were rounded up by the gunmen and led away. 

It is now appearing that the kidnappers were not members of the Boko Haram terrorist group but bandits who operate in the area. The bandits apparently were masquerading themselves to appear as Boko Haram. 

The governor of Katsina, Aminu Bello Masari, congratulated the military forces. “The Armed Forces know their job. They have been well trained and properly motivated.”

Abdu Labaran, a spokesman for Masari, said to CNN that children seen in a video released earlier on Thursday were indeed the same students who were kidnapped a week ago. The video included the logo of Boko Haram.

The voice narrating in the video was purported to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. Yet, it was in fact a bandit mimicking Shekau’s voice according to Masari. An earlier audio message that was released after the kidnapping had been reportedly by Shekau as well. 

Shekau is a shadowy figure. In 2009, he was shot in the leg during the initial Boko Haram uprising with resulted in the death of the organization’s first leader Mohammad Yusuf. Shekau has been reportedly killed a number of times: in 2009, 2013, 2014, and 2016. But after each time he has appeared in videos mocking those who claimed to have killed him. 

Katsina state has been having an issue with kidnapping by armed bandits for some time. Boko Haram also has its hands in the practice. Back in 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from the town of Chibok. Of those, over 100 have still to be returned to their families.