Terrorists who kidnapped passengers on an Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28, have released yet another video threatening to kill the victims.
Six passengers, including a Pakistani, were seen in the footage. Ttraumatised, they appealed to the government to come to their aid.
“My name is Mohammed, I’m working here in Nigeria, but a foreign national, a Pakistani. We were abducted from the Abuja-Kaduna train on 28 March. We are here; 62 in number,” one victim said.
“The conditions are not very good. I am appealing to the government of Nigeria; the government of Pakistan and the international community to help us.”
Another passenger, Mohammed Dehu, also appealed to the government to accede to the demands of the abductors.
The terrorists, accused the government of being insincere, and gave a five-day ultimatum for the release of some of their children whom they claimed were in custody.
The terrorists had on Monday vowed to start killing the abducted passengers in seven days
Leader of the terrorists Abu Barra spoke on phone to the spokesman of Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, Malam Tukur Mamu, ‘And Dan Iyan Fika.
In the audio of the conversations between Malam Tukur Mamu and the leaders of the terrorists, the terrorists claimed that the federal government suspended the resumption of the train service because of their threats,
”The government suspended the resumption of the train service indefinitely because of our threats and we repeat, if our conditions are not met, the resumption of the train service is to the detriment of the government and the passengers.”
“We don’t need money. We have a good reason for doing what we did, until our demands are met none of the victims will come out alive even if it means we all die with them. They are well taken care of as you can see from the pictures we sent to you via WhatsApp but we assure you that this will not continue”.
“We choose you (Tukur Mamu) to convey this important message to the government, the families of the victims and Nigerians in general because we believe you won’t alter our message and we have seen you severally with Sheikh Gumi in the forest, therefore, we recognized the fearlessness in you”.
Abu Barra said that it’s been two months since the abduction and anything can happen to the abducted passengers henceforth.
He explained their reasons for the abduction as a retaliation for the arrest and detention of their children by the security agencies.
“Our children numbering about 8 between the ages of one to seven years are currently being held at an orphanage in Jimeta, Adamawa State under the supervision of the Nigerian Army”, he said.
“The names of our children are; Abdulrahman, Bilkisu, Usman, Ibrahim and Juwairiyyah. They were forcefully taken from our wives in Nasarawa and taken to the orphanage in Yola”.
“For any continued discussion on the release of these passengers and a safe resumption of the train service, our children must be released unconditionally. Only then we will release some of the abducted victims, especially the women while other passengers will be released on a prisoner exchange with some of our arrested comrades by the government, he continued.
Abu Barra said that the pictures of the passengers they sent earlier, were among some of the pictures they sent to the negotiation team of the government as proof of the well being of the victims. They said since then the government had been lacklustre.”
“Barra said they decided to come to a GSM enabled location with one of the female victims to talk to Malam Mamu and as a confirmation of their claims. Mamu said he could hear her cries with a very low voice that probably indicates exhaustion pleading with him to please talk to the government on their behalf for a swift intervention on their release.”
He threatened that, if within seven days the government does not respond to their demands, they will stop feeding the victims and will start slaughtering them one after the other and if the government doesn’t respond after that, then Nigerians should forget using the Abuja-Kaduna rail line as well as the Kaduna-Abuja high way.
“If the government decided not to respond so be it. We are warning Nigerians, especially those that are patronizing the train that if this matter is not resolved peacefully, the day they decided to attack us or do anything funny, passengers or commuters should forget to use the train or follow the Abuja-Kaduna road because we will be consistent and they can’t stop us. We believe that you will deliver this message as it is”, he said.
“Therefore, we rely on you and urged you to convey this important message to everyone”, Abu Barra said.
Malam Tukur Mamu replied that he understands the predicament of the government in resolving the abduction imbroglio but stated that every responsible government will look into saving innocent passengers’ lives and make painful compromises where necessary even if it’s against the policy of the administration.
Malam Mamu then explained that prisoner exchange with known criminals on matters of national interest is a global practice and has happened in many developed countries like the United States.
He stressed the need to avoid any military action that will lead to collateral damage and the loss of innocent lives.
“Time is not on our side, the government must understand that they are dealing with persons with a misguided ideology and tainted religious belief. These people are not scared of death, they seem to believe that they are martyrs when they die. It will be a serious mistake to take this threat lightly. I believe an opportunity has been created for us to explore to save the lives of those innocent victims.
“For me, if these innocent will regain their freedom because of my involvement and provided that will lead to relative peace and security on our highways and rail lines I wouldn’t mind if I die in the process. We must accept the fact that security alone on the Abuja-Kadunvictima highways remains more fragile than ever and the solution is not militarily alone, especially in a country where impending attacks can hardly be dictated and stopped”, he said.
Meanwhile, family members of the victims have made several appeals to the Federal Government to rescue their loved ones from captivity.
Last week, Special Assistant to President Muahmmadu Buhari on Media, Garba Shehu, said negotiations were ongoing to ensure the release of the victims.
He said, “We’re aware that there has been resistance from the family members of those who have been taken captive. Of course this is expected. This acts as a pressure on one of the people involved in the discussion with the terrorists to ensure a safe release of those that have been held.
“The position of government has been stated and restated over time that the success of any operation will be determined by the number of recoveries of human beings alive and well not the return of dead bodies. The government has spoken about the fact that negotiations are ongoing, although a bit difficult, but we hope that we return to normalcy.”
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) had announced a resumption of activities on the Abuja-Kaduna corridor, but it was later suspended indefinitely.