Abuja, (Stat Observer):Kidnappers have released 53 people including women and children they seized on a bus in Nigeria, local authorities said, while dozens of others taken from a school in a separate incident are still missing. Criminal gangs known locally as "bandits" in northwest and central Nigeria have scaled up attacks in recent years, kidnapping, raping and pillaging. A gang last week seized 53 people, including 20 women and nine children, who were travelling on a state-owned bus in Kundu village in Niger State. "I was delighted to receive the 53... bus passengers who were abducted by armed bandits a week ago," the governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, said in a tweet late Sunday. It is unknown if a ransom was paid but state representatives have previously said they would not pay any. "We went through one week of dialogue, consultations, hard work and sleepless nights because we had to secure their release within the shortest possible time," the governor's spokeswoman, Mary Noel-Berje, said in a statement. The freed bus passengers were receiving medical checkups before being reunited with their families, she added.