Families and friends of passengers of the Abuja-Kaduna train who were kidnapped during an attack on the train on March 28 again on Tuesday cried out to the Federal Government to save their beloved ones held captive by the bandits by yielding to their fresh demands.
This followed the warning by the terrorists that they would starve and kill their hostages one by one should the Federal Government fail to meet their demands.
The bandits demanded the unconditional release of their children said to have been detained in an orphanage home in Adamawa State under the strict supervision of the Nigerian Army and the release of their detained colleagues.
Their demands were contained in the latest edition of the Kaduna-based Desert Herald newspaper, whose publisher, Tukur Mamu, is a Media Consultant to a controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.
Mamu said the bandits contacted him through one of their leaders, simply identified as Abu Barra, with firm instructions to convey the message to the victims’ families and the Federal Government.
While reacting to the message, the leader of the kidnapped victims’ families, Dr. Abdulfatai Jimoh, told The PUNCH in Kaduna that it was wise for the Federal Government to give a thought to the terrorists’ demands to let go of victims who had spent almost two months in the bandits’ den.
Jimoh said it was unacceptable to detain minors in whatever situation, thus, appealing to the government to release the eight minors whom the bandits claimed were being held in Adamawa State.
He said, “It is a terrible situation. Our appeal to the government is that it should hasten the action and meet their demands and release their children. The government should release their children so that they can help our people. It is something that is possible for the government to do.
“You don’t hold children for anything. The children are minors. It is something that the government can do. They (bandits) even said they knew where their children are. Our appeal is very short, that the government should release their children so that they can release our people.”
Jimoh, who described the holding on of their beloved ones for close to two months as sad, added that “it has been very traumatic for not seeing our loved ones for 57 days now. It is not an experience that one will wish for, even for his worst enemy. It is not a good experience at all. We pray that this experience will come to an end very soon. That’s our prayers.”
The PUNCH had reported that on March 28, 2022, terrorists planted explosives devices along the Abuja-Kaduna rail track.
When the Kaduna-bound train approached the point, the device exploded, causing the train to derail, leading to the death of eight passengers.
A day after the attack, another passenger who suffered gunshot wound, died, increasing death toll to nine.
Over 60 passengers are still in the kidnappers’ den.