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- WSJ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolboys Say Ransom Was Paid, Tell of Beatings
Freed captives recount mistreatment by Boko Haram, as group’s terrorism and criminality appear to coalesce
By Joe Parkinson and Gbenga Akingbule Dec. 23, 2020
KATSINA, Nigeria—It was on the third day in captivity that the Lawal brothers thought they would be executed.
Exhausted and hungry, their bare feet lacerated after long marches at gunpoint through a dense forest with more than 300 abducted schoolmates, 16-year-old Anas and 17-year-old Buhari were ordered by their kidnappers to answer a question.
“Is your family poor?” said one of the gunmen, much of his face masked by a turban. “If they are, we will kill you now. They won’t be able to afford the ransom,” he said.
The brothers, whose father, Abubakar Lawal, is a construction-industry consultant with an income of $100 a month—middle class by the region’s standards—said nothing and stared at the ground.
“We thought they would kill us there and then,” said Anas.