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Train attack: Bandits threaten to starve, kill victims

Some bloodthirsty bandits who attacked the Abuja-Kaduna bound AK9 train on March, 28, have threatened to commence the killing of abducted passengers in their custody failure of the Federal Government to meet their demands within seven days.

Parts of the demands were the unconditional release of their detained children held in an orphanage home in Adamawa State under the strict supervision of the Nigerian Army as well as the release of their detained comrade at arm.

The bandits also disclosed that the suspended train service by the Nigerian Railway Corporation slated for May 23 on the Abuja-Kaduna route, was a result of their threat to the government.

These were contained in the latest edition of the Kaduna-based DESERT HERALD newspaper, whose publisher, Malam Tukur Mamu, is a Media Consultant to controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.

The media aide said the bandits contacted him through one of their leaders simply identified as Abu Barra with a firm instructions to convey the message to the victims’ families as well as the Federal Government.

According to the bandits, the Federal Government are not sincere with the negotiation, warning that unless their detained children, forcefully taken away by security operatives from their wives in Nasarawa state and detained in Adamawa State, are released, known of the kidnapped passengers will come out alive.

In the telephone conversation between the bandits and the publisher of the newspaper, the bandits noted that the Federal Government had contacted them on how to secure the release of the abducted passengers but “there seem to be insincerity on the part of the government putting the lives of the passengers at risk.”

They continued 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,” said the leader of the terror group

Barra noted that the abduction of the train passengers was a retaliation for the arrest and detention of their children by security operatives.

He said, “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.

“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.”

Barra warned that if within seven days the government failed to respond to their demands, they would stop feeding the victims in their custody and start slaughtering(killing) them one by one, adding also the Nigerians should forget using the Abuja-Kaduna rail line as well as the Kaduna-Abuja high way.

Besides, he added that they(bandits) would make life hellish for those plying the Abuja-Kaduna expressway should the government decided send troops to attack them.

“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 using 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.

“Therefore, we rely on you and urged you to convey this important message to everyone,” he added.

Meanwhile, in his response, Gumi’s aide appealed to the government not to take the bandits’ threat lightly.

He noted that the Federal Government should be ready to make a painful compromise in order to save the lives of the innocent passengers in the custody of the terror group.

Mamu explained that “prisoner exchange” with known criminals on matters of national interest was a global practice and had happened in many developed countries like the United States, urging the government to avoid any military action that would lead to collateral damage and loss of innocent lives.

Mamu, who’s the Dan-Iyan Fika, said, “time is not on our side. The government must understand that they are dealing with persons with misguided ideology and tainted religious beliefs. 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 victims 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-Kaduna 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.”

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