Gunmen in Nigeria on Saturday released 27 teenage boys who were kidnapped from their school earlier this month.

Their release was met by tearful loved ones.

On February 17 – 42 people including 27 students were abducted by an armed gang that stormed a secondary school in Niger state. One boy was killed during the raid.

One remains in the hospital, according to the Niger state governor.

Also on Saturday, police mounted a search for 317 schoolgirls who were abducted Friday in a nearby state. Concerned parents waited in the school compound for updates.

One of them said he was hopeful his daughter would be brought back home – saying the captors were bandits:

“…They are already after ransom, so I know and believe that when the government settles with them, they will be able to release our daughters.”

Schools have become targets for mass kidnappings for ransom in northern Nigeria by armed groups, whose agenda is unclear.

The highest profile school kidnapping was that of more than 270 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the town of Chibok in 2014. Around 100 girls remain missing.