SEVEN more abducted passengers of the Kaduna-Abuja train attack were released today by their abductors after spending over 100 days in captivity.
Mallam Taku Mamu, one of the negotiators and media consultant to the Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, disclosed the release of the additional victims.
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The terrorists had attacked the train on March 28, 2022 on its way to Kaduna and abducted many passengers in the process.
They demanded that the Federal government release their own members in security custody as part of the negotiation for the release of the kidnapped victims.
The kidnappers had released 11 of their victims on June 12, while holding the rest hostage.
According to Mamu, the family of the train victims prevailed on him to rescind his decision of not negotiating with the terrorists again, saying abandoning them at this hour was not in the best interests of both parties.
He added that based on the pleas, he decided to negotiate with the terrorists and to plead with them not to kill the victims in their captivity.
He said, “Now I can reveal that it has paid off. Those released today, Saturday, are Bosede Olurotimi, Abubakar Zubairu, Alhassan Sule, Sadiq Ango Abdullahi, Muhammad Daiyabu Paki, Aliyu Usman, and the only foreign national of Pakistani origin, Dr. Muhammad Abuzar Afzal.
He added that the success of their release had vindicated Sheikh Ahmad Gumi about what the power of mediation can achieve.
“I want to assure the nation that everything that was achieved today was single-handedly initiated and arranged by me with the full support and prayers of my principal, Sheikh Gumi,” he said.
Mamu said the seven rescued victims had been handed over to the military and were now on their way to Kaduna.
“The location the abductors gave is remote, sensitive and risky. There was a military checkpoint before penetrating the forest. My team was stopped by the soldiers, but when they told the military our mission, they contacted the GOC and he immediately gave approval for them to proceed.
”And after the victims were released, travelling through over 40 kilometres in the forest, they were given a military escort back to Kaduna at the checkpoint,” he said.
Asked if money was involved in securing the release of the victims, Mamu said the released victims would be in the best position to confirm that.
He said, “Money cannot achieve what I have done today. I will never involve myself on any issue that has to do with money. I am also under serious watch. I am sure if they have evidence against me, I cannot be talking freely the manner I used to do.”
'Niyi worked with The ICIR as an Investigative Reporter and Fact-checker from 2020 till September 2022. You can shoot him an email via email@example.com. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.