Buhari Vows Safe Rescue Of Kaduna Train Attack Hostages

Credit: State House

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday vowed to rescue 31 hostages taken in a train attack and return them “safe and unhurt”, his office said, five months after their abduction.

Gangs of bandits with no ideological or religious motives are known to kidnap for ransom in northwest and central Nigeria.

On March 28, armed men blew up a train travelling between Abuja and Kaduna and opened fire, killing eight people, wounding 26, and taking an unspecified number of passengers hostage.

A week later, they freed one hostage — a top bank executive — as a goodwill gesture for Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, because of his “advanced age”.

Dozens of hostages have already been freed following negotiations, but 31 remain in captivity.

READ ALSO: 2023 Census Will Help Tackle Insecurity – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari met with some victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack on August 11, 2022.
President Muhammadu Buhari met with some victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack on August 11, 2022.

 

“I have been informed that at last count, there remain about 31 people in the hands of the kidnappers,” Buhari told representatives of the families of the hostages in Abuja on Thursday.

He said his government would ensure the safe return of the remaining hostages to their families.

“My primary concern is to get everyone released safe and unhurt,” he assured.

The president commended the security forces on recent successes against kidnappers and “terrorists”.

“In the past couple of days, you must have heard about the number of terrorists neutralised by the military, and a number of hostages freed. These efforts will not stop, or reduce,” he said.

“We must take the fight to the terrorists and demonstrate that there is no hiding place for them within the borders of our country,” he said.

“Each one of them will be hunted, and pursued and spoken to in the language that they understand,” he added.

Credit: State House

 

Nigeria is battling myriad security challenges, including a 13-year-old insurgency in the northeast, mass kidnappings in the northwest as well as separatist tensions and oil thefts in the south.

The government is under increasing pressure to end the violence, with the security agencies appearing over-stretched on all fronts.

NRC Reduces Lagos-Ibadan Trips Due To Rising Diesel Costs

A file photo of a Nigerian train

 

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) says it has reduced the number of trips on the Lagos-Ibadan train service due to the hike in the price of automotive gas oil, better known as diesel.

Channels Television gathered that the move would hamper the revenue drive of the sector, as rail transport raked in N6 billion last year.

In an interview on Tuesday, NRC Managing Director, Fidet Okhiria, said the corporation has cut down the number of return trips on the route from six to two every day.

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“The Lagos-Ibadan train service is running, but we have reduced the number of trips on that route because of the diesel problem. We reduced the number of trips we are running because of the hike in diesel price,” Okhiria told The Punch.

“We are now doing two return trips as against six, which by now should have gone to 10. So we run just two trips now due to the diesel problem.”

According to the NRC boss, it was outside the corporation’s powers to hike fares, despite the rising cost of operations.

He however stated that the corporation had sent recommendations to the federal ministry of transportation for an adjustment in the train fare.

“We just can’t increase it by ourselves. The government has to do that. We have made some recommendations. But even with the recommendations we made, the new price of diesel has overshot our workings as contained in the recommendations.

“However, we don’t want to price ourselves out of the market too, because the price of petrol is not increasing as such, rather the increase is little when compared to diesel price. And you know we are competing with transporters on roads, ” Okhiria added.

The price of diesel has hit N800 per litre, representing a 28 per cent increase — it sold for 625/litre in March.

‘I Was Treating Bandits’: Freed Kaduna Train Passenger Narrates Ordeal In Captivity

 

One of the passengers kidnapped during the Kaduna-Abuja train attack, Dr Mustapha Imam, has recounted his ordeal in captivity, saying he was the official medical doctor in the bandits’ den. 

Dr Mustapha, who was one of the five passengers freed by the bandits on Tuesday, said he won’t pray for his enemy to go through such an ordeal.

“I was the medical doctor in the camp. I was treating captives as well as the bandits,” he said.

According to him, “there was no medication in the camp,” citing the case of a woman – who had malaria – but went into a coma because there was no medication to treat her.

READ ALSO: Terrorists Release Five More Abducted Kaduna Train Attack Victims

“My experience is really terrible. You can see, I just finished shedding tears, tears of joy. I am happy that I am free and going to be reunited with my family very very soon,” Dr Mustapha added.

“The experience I have been through in the last four months is not something that I will like even my enemy to go through.”

The associate professor of Medical Biochemistry at the Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, also said feeding was a big issue during his time in the abductors’ den.

He said there “were days we ate once a day”, calling on the Federal Government to “take whatever necessary steps to ensure the release of the remaining people”.

Tukur Mamu, a member of the team who negotiated the release of Dr Mustapha, had earlier told Channels Television that he has backed out due to threats to his life, personal integrity, and lack of support from the Federal Government.

With the recently freed victims, the number of released passengers has now swelled to 37. As of now, 35 persons are still in captivity.

But it is unclear if any ransom was paid for the recently released persons.

Terrorists Release Three Kaduna Train Attack Victims

The three victims of the Kaduna-bound train – Gladys Brumen, Hassan Lawan, and Ayodeji Oyewumi – regained their freedom from the terrorists on July 25, 2022.

 

Terrorists have released three victims of 62 hostages of the abducted Abuja-Kaduna train passengers on March 28.

The victims, who consist of two males and a female, secured their freedom around 11 am on Monday.

Channels Television gathered that they were released by the terrorists at a location inside the forest along the Kaduna – Abuja highway.  From there, they were picked up by their relatives.

READ ALSO: Kaduna Train Attack: Terrorists Threaten To Kill, Sell Hostages, Kidnap Buhari And El-Rufai

So far, 22 victims have regained their freedom.

It is however not clear if any money was paid to the terrorists to release their abducted victims.

One of the victims of the Kaduna train attack regains his freedom on July 25, 2022.

 

With the release of the three victims, the number of those still in captivity now remains at 40.

Gunmen had on March 28 blown up the rail track, killing some and abducting scores of passengers, a situation that called for serious concern about the safety of the nation’s train.

 

This Kaduna-bound train was attacked by armed gangs on March 28, 2022.

 

Worried about the situation, the Nigeria Railway Corporation temporarily suspended activities, with President Muhammadu Buhari directing security agencies to rescue the victims.

On Sunday, the terrorists released a viral video where they were seen flogging their hostages. They also threatened to abduct President Buhari and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

The presidency reacted to the threat hours after, accusing the insurgents of using propaganda to compel the government to yield to their demands.

In a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said security forces are not helpless in stemming the tide of insecurity confronting the country.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Shehu said President Muhammadu Buhari has been supporting security agencies by boosting their morale and providing the needed equipment.

He said, “The Presidency, in the meantime wishes to reassure the public that the President has done all, and even more than what is expected of him as Commander-in-Chief by way of morale, material and equipment support to the military and expects nothing short of good results in the immediate.”

Families Of Kaduna Train Attack Victims Accuse FG, Security Agencies Of Sabotaging Rescue Efforts

 

Relatives of victims of the March 28 terrorists attack on a Kaduna- bound train have accused the Federal Government and the military of sabotaging efforts to rescue their loved ones from the hands of their abductors.

The allegation by the aggrieved families comes on the heels of a new video released by the terrorists where the gunmen they threatened to kill or sell off the remaining hostages if the government fails to yield to their demands.

Reacting to the development, the aggrieved families told Channels Television that the efforts they have made to get their loved ones out from the custody of the terrorists were sabotaged by military operatives last Friday.

The military operatives are said to have blocked them from gaining access to the forest where the terrorists had asked them to come and pick up the hostages.


READ ALSO: Kaduna Train Attack: Terrorists Threaten to Kill, Sell Hostages, Warn Buhari And El-Rufai


This the victim’s family suspect is the reason why the terrorists have issued a fresh threat to either sell or kill the victims.

Enveloped with fear and anxiety, the relatives of the hostages say the Federal Government and the security agencies have failed them.

At the family house of one of the victims, Hassan Othman, the victim’s elder brother, Sani Othman, could not hide his feelings, he accused the government and security agencies of scuttling their efforts to get their loved ones out of captivity.

Devastated, the Othman’s family queried why the military failed to grant then access to get back their loved ones and why the government has not rescued them after so long in the terrorists’ den.

Although government at various times, have assured that it will ensure the safe return of the kidnapped victims, the relatives of the hostages say they have run out of patience and have lost faith in the commitment and capacity of the government to bring back their loved ones safe and sound.

It’s exactly 121 days after terrorists attacked the Abuja-Kaduna bound train in Chikun local government area of Kaduna State.

No fewer than eight people were killed, including a young female medical Doctor, Chinelo Megafu, the Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress, Barrister Musa Lawal-Ozigi and a youth leader of the ruling APC, Amin Mahmoud.

Twenty six passengers sustained various degree of injuries during the attack while 62 others were abducted. So far , 20 of the victims have been released while the fate of 43 others still hangs in the balance.

Kaduna Train Attack: Eleven Released Victims Reunite With Their Families

Photo of the damaged AK9 Abuja-Kaduna train

 

Eleven kidnapped passengers from the March 28 Kaduna train attack, who were released last weekend, have been reunited with their families.

The victims were released by their abductors on Friday, following a series of negotiations with the Federal Government after spending eleven weeks in captivity.

The eleven victims comprise six females and five males.

Upon their release, they were first taken to Abuja, the nation’s capital for debriefing, and were later brought back to Kaduna on Monday where they were handed over to their families by the military.

One of the victims, a middle-aged woman who sustained severe injury, could not stand on her own, as she is still looking pale and sick due to the trauma she had while in the custody of the terrorists inside the forest.

It is nevertheless a happy reunion for the Musawa family as they celebrate the release of their daughter, Amina, who was among the kidnapped passengers from the March 28 train attack in Kaduna state.

Although it is a breath of fresh air for Amina, her joy and that of her extended family seem not to be complete, as her husband, who was kidnapped along with her, could not make it in the first eleven. He and 50 others are still with their abductors in the forest.

Still gripped in shock by what they went through while in captivity, Amina, like the other freed passengers were unwilling to speak to us in camera.

But their relatives who obviously are happy with their return commend the Federal government for facilitating the release of the first batch of the victims

However, they are saddened that 50 other victims of the train attack are still left behind with their abductors. For their joy to be complete, they appealed to the Federal Government not to rest on its oars until all the abductees are freed.

While it might be freedom at last for these eleven passengers, their experience in the hands of their abductors will be a sad tale that they would not forest in a hurry, especially when the fate of fifty others is still uncertain.

Twenty-One Killed In Train Derailment In Central Iran

A handout picture made available by the Iranian Red Crescent on June 8, 2022 shows rescuers at the scene of a train derailment near the central Iranian city of Tabas on the line between the Iranian cities of Mashhad and Yazd. (Photo by Iranian Red Crescent / AFP) 

 

 

At least 21 people were killed and dozens injured Wednesday when a train derailed near the central Iranian city of Tabas after hitting an excavator beside the track, state media reported.

The train was on its way from the northeastern city of Mashhad to the central city of Yazd and was carrying 348 passengers, according to the national rail authority, when it careered off the track in the desert at 5:30 am (0100 GMT).

Yazd province’s emergency organisation chief Ahmad Dehghan said 21 people were killed in the incident, according to the website of state broadcaster IRIB, revising an initial death toll of 17 given by national authorities.

Earlier, national emergency services spokesman Mojtaba Khaledi told state television that 86 people were injured.

Khaledi had noted that the number of dead may rise, as some injured were in “critical condition”. Twenty-four ambulances and three helicopters — seen on state television airlifting casualties to hospital — were dispatched to the scene, he said.

Tabas is located in South Khorasan province, roughly 900 kilometres (560 miles) by road from Tehran. The provincial judiciary said arrest warrants have been issued for six people in connection with the accident.

The train “derailed after hitting an excavator” that was near the track, Mir Hassan Moussavi, the deputy head of Iran’s state-owned railways,  told the state broadcaster.

Rescue teams inspected the overturned carriages as onlookers gathered nearby, pictures posted by the ISNA news agency showed.

One of the pictures showed a yellow excavator on its side by the track.

Five of the train’s 11 coaches came off the rails, the Iranian Red Crescent’s head of emergency operations, Mehdi Valipour, told state television.

 

A handout picture made available by the Iranian Red Crescent on June 8, 2022 shows a train derailed after hitting an excavator near the central Iranian city of Tabas, on the line between the cities of Mashhad and Yazd. (Photo by Iranian Red Crescent / AFP) 

 

– Investigation –
President Ebrahim Raisi expressed his grief over the derailment and offered his condolences to the families of the dead.

He also issued orders for a speedy investigation into the causes of the crash, his office said.

Roads and Urban Development Minister Rostam Ghassemi apologised to Iranians on Twitter and said the ministry was responsible for the incident.

“Hitting the excavator was the main cause of the accident,” Ghassemi said, adding that initial reports indicated that the driver only braked after hitting the obstructing vehicle.

“What is clear is the human error, which is more on the part of the driver, and why and how should be investigated more closely,” he stressed.

The Tabas prosecutor visited the scene as a judicial investigation was launched, Iranian media reported.

The train derailment comes after a tower block collapsed in southwestern Iran last month killing at least 43 people.

The collapse of the 10-storey Metropol building, which was under construction in Abadan, sparked angry protests in solidarity with the families of the dead.

The provincial judiciary said it had arrested 13 people, including Abadan’s mayor and two former mayors, suspected of being “responsible” for that tragedy.

The disaster was one of Iran’s deadliest in years and sparked demonstrations across the country against authorities accused of corruption and incompetence.

In 2016, two trains collided and caught fire in northern Iran, killing 44 people and injuring dozens.

 

More than a dozen people were killed and injured when a train derailed near Tabas after hitting an excavator, state media reported. (Photo by Iranian Red Crescent / AFP)

 

The then head of Iranian railways resigned after four of his employees were arrested following the collision on the main line between Tehran and second city Mashhad.

At Least 17 Killed As Train Derails In Iran

A handout picture made available by the Iranian Red Crescent on June 8, 2022 shows rescuers at the scene of a train derailment near the central Iranian city of Tabas on the line between the Iranian cities of Mashhad and Yazd.  AFP

 

At least 17 people were killed and dozens injured Wednesday when a train derailed near the central Iranian city of Tabas after hitting an excavator, state media reported.

“Seventeen people are dead and 37 injured people have been transferred to hospital,” emergency services spokesman Mojtaba Khaledi told state television.

“The number of the dead may rise as most of the injured are in critical condition,” he said, adding that “24 ambulances and three helicopters have been dispatched to the scene.”

Tabas is located in South Khorasan province roughly 900 kilometers (560 miles) by road from Tehran.

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The deputy head of Iran’s state-owned railways, Mir Hassan Moussavi, told the state broadcaster that the train was carrying 348 passengers.

It “derailed after hitting an excavator” that was near the track, he said.

Some of the injured were airlifted to hospital by helicopter, state television footage showed.

Rescue teams inspected the overturned carriages as onlookers gathered nearby, pictures posted by the ISNA news agency showed.

One of the pictures showed a yellow excavator on its side by the track.

Five of the train’s 11 coaches came off the track in the 5:30 am (0100 GMT) accident, the Iranian Red Crescent’s head of emergency operations, Mehdi Valipour, told state television.

The Tabas prosecutor visited the scene as a judicial investigation was launched into the cause of the accident, Iranian media reported.

The train derailment comes after a tower block collapsed in southwestern Iran last month killing at least 43 people.

The collapse of the 10-storey Metropol building, which was under construction in Abadan, sparked angry protests in solidarity with the families of the dead.

The provincial judiciary said it had arrested 13 people, including Abadan’s mayor and two former mayors, suspected of being “responsible” for the tragedy.

The disaster was one of Iran’s deadliest in years and sparked demonstrations across the country against authorities accused of corruption and incompetence.

In 2016, two trains collided and caught fire in northern Iran, killing 44 people and injuring dozens.

The then head of Iranian railways resigned after four of his employees were arrested following the collision on the main line between Tehran and the second city Mashhad.

Kaduna Train Attack: Ango Abdullahi’s Son, Other Victims Seek FG’s Help

Photo of the damaged AK9 Abuja-Kaduna train

 

One of the victims of the March 28 Kaduna train attack, Sadiq Ango Abdullahi, who is the son of the Chairman of Northern Elders Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi, has appealed to the Federal Government to come to their rescue by yielding to the demands of their abductors before they will stayer to harm them.

In a fresh video released by terrorists, Sadiq Abdullahi, flanked by other hostages including women, lamented that their condition is deteriorating by the day while in the custody of the terrorists, hence the need for the Federal Government to hasten up and ensure they are released.

In the new video, the men victims are subjected to kneel down while the women sit on the mat, with masked terrorists carrying an AK-47, giving them orders on what to do.

A female victim, who claims to be a classmate of Vice-President Osinbajo at the Nigerian Law School, appeals to the government to speed up their release and also expressed fear over the condition of his son who she said is suffering from sickle cell anemia.

Terrorists suspected to be members of the Ansaru group bombed an Abuja-Kaduna-bound train on March 28 in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing eight people.

The terrorists also injured 26 passengers and took away 62 others to an unknown destination during the attack.

NRC Cancels Resumption Of Train Services On Abuja-Kaduna Route

This Kaduna-bound train was attacked by armed gangs on March 28, 2022.

 

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on Friday suspended the resumption of train services on the Abuja-Kaduna route amid pressure from families of victims abducted by terrorists.

Gunmen had on March 28 used explosives to kill nine passengers and injured others while kidnapping about 50 victims, the NRC suspended operations on the route indefinitely.

However, the corporation announced earlier in the week that it will resume services on May 23, a situation that did not augur well with the victims’ families who threatened to disrupt operations.

But in a statement issued by NRC’s spokesman, Yakub Mahmood, the agency said a new date would be announced soonest.

“Sequel to our earlier Press Release No. 10 dated 16th May 2022 on the above
caption, the General Public is kindly invited to note the Nigerian Railway
Corporation (NRC) is announcing a shift in the resumption date for Abuja Kaduna,” he said in the statement.

While apologising for the delay in the resumption of train services, Mahmood assured the distraught families that it was working hard to secure the victims’ release.

READ ALSO: Several Feared Injured As Bandits Attack Abuja-Kaduna Train

“The NRC will continue to cooperate and collaborate with the Federal Government in its uncompromising mandate of protecting the territorial integrity and the internal security of Nigeria for safeguarding the lives and properties of its citizens especially as it concerns the rail sub-sector,” the statement read in part.

“In the same vein, we once again identify with the relatives of those in captivity on the account of the recent attack on AKTS to be rest assured that the Federal Government is alive to its responsibility for the safe rescue of all persons being held, hostage.

“We, therefore, appeal, particularly to the relatives of persons held hostage to be patient and cooperate with the Corporation and the Security Agencies as the Federal Government is exploring all possible ways and means to ensure the safe release of their loved ones from captivity, soonest. The NRC expresses its profound gratitude to the security agencies for the continued support.”

Falana Sues NRC, AGF, Seeks Stoppage Of Train Services On Abuja-Kaduna Route

Falana Writes AGF, Requests Release Of 10 People From ‘Navy Detention’
Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana

 

Human rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria Femi Falana on Friday filed a lawsuit at the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking to stop the Nigerian Railway Corporation from resuming train services on the Abuja-Kaduna route until the railway lines are adequately protected from attacks by bandits and terrorists.

Also joined in the suit is another human rights lawyer, Marshal Abubakar.

Both activists filed the suit on Friday ahead of the now-botched planned resumption of train services on the Abuja-Kaduna route on Monday, March 28.

READ ALSO: NRC Cancels Resumption Of Train Services On Abuja-Kaduna Route

The suit against the NRC, the Minister of Transportation, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, declared that the Respondents on the matter, are bound to secure the railway lines linking Kaduna State to Abuja (and indeed all other railways lines in Nigeria) against armed attacks by Boko Haram terrorists, kidnappers, and other armed groups before the recommencement of railway transportation services.

The lawsuit relied on Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act, Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria which guarantee that every person living in Nigeria is entitled to the protection of their fundamental right to life.

In the suit with file number,  FHC/ABJ/CS/22,  the applicants declared that the brutal killing of unarmed passengers in the Abuja – Kaduna bound train by armed gangs/Boko Haram terrorists on the 28th day of March 2022 is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates the fundamental right of the deceased to life guaranteed by Section 14 (2) (b), 15 (3) (b), 33 and 43 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

They however asked for the relief of the court mandating the Respondents to protect the lives and properties of every passenger plying the Kaduna- Abuja Railway lines(and indeed all other railway lines in Nigeria) by recruiting adequate security personnel and security gadgets to guard and protect every of such passengers utilizing the public railway transportation system in Nigeria.

They also sought an order of the court prohibiting the Corporation and the Federal Ministry of Transportation from recommencing railways services on the Kaduna- Abuja route until adequate security and requisite gadgets are provided to ensure the safety and protection of lives and properties on the route.

Other reliefs sought by the Applicants is for the court to mandate the Respondents officials, whose alleged criminal negligence caused the bomb attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28, 2022, should be investigated and prosecuted.

Kaduna Train Attack: Bandits Parade Kidnapped Victims Including Student

 

Bandits who attacked the Kaduna-Abuja bound train on March 28 have paraded their victims in an unidentified location suspected to be a forest.

In a video obtained by Channels Television, the gunmen were seen putting on military camouflage and uniforms.

The bandits made their captives call on the government to come to their rescue. One of the victims is a young lady who identified herself as a student of Kaduna State University.

Another is a man who said he was on his way to Kaduna for eye treatment.

“We’re the passengers from Abuja heading towards Kaduna and were abducted. We have sick ones, old and young; a mother and her children. Only God knows what we have been through here,” one of the victims pleaded.

“Please, we are pleading that the government meet their needs and rescue us.”

READ ALSO: New Kaduna Police Commissioner Resumes, Tours Abuja-Kaduna Highway

kaduna-attack-victims -video
The victims are calling on the government to rescue them.

 

The undated video also showed the Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Ali-Hassan, who has since been released by the bandits.

He appeared in a previous video before he was later released in what his captors said was a goodwill gesture for the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan.

Ali-Hassan’s family confirmed last week it was him in the first video and that he had been freed by his captors.

The sophisticated attack saw gunmen blow up the tracks to halt a train from the capital Abuja to Kaduna — Nigeria’s flagship rail service.

They then opened fire on the coaches before seizing an unknown number of passengers from the train’s so-called VIP section.

There has been no claim of responsibility, although the finger of blame swiftly pointed at heavily armed criminal gangs known as bandits who have ravaged parts of northwest and central Nigeria.

So far, the victims have spent at least 13 days in the bush with their abductors.