Eighty-five days after the terrorist attack on a Kaduna-bound train, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the security agencies to ensure the immediate rescue of passengers abducted in the incident.
A statement released on Tuesday by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu said Buhari ordered the security agencies to ensure that the passengers, who are being held by the terrorists, are rescued alive.
“The President’s clear directive on the issue is that the hostages must be brought home alive. The country’s military and security agencies are aware of their duty to the nation and are determined to give effect to the President’s charge with increased urgency,” the statement said.
The statement explained that the recent release of some of the passengers followed negotiations between the government and the abductors.
According to the statement, the government has adopted a kinetic and a non-kinetic approach in efforts to free the passengers.
The statement described the release of only 11 passengers by the terrorists as a setback, noting that the government expected that many more abductees would be freed.
“The government continues to review the issue of the railway kidnap and making all efforts to trace and bring them back from the terrorists’ custody.
“Upon the President’s approval, the government is continuing on the two-lane approach, kinetic and non-kinetic to secure the passengers’ safe release.
“The kidnappers made a demand for the release of their own children and upon the settlement of that issue, they let go eleven of the victims, even though more were expected.
“The setback notwithstanding, the government is not leaving any stone unturned in the efforts to bring all of the hostages back,” the statement said.
According to the statement, the security agencies have assured the President of their determination to rescue the passengers.
Buhari further assured families of the abductees that the government will not rest until they are brought home safe.
“The Defence, Security and Intelligence Agencies have given assurances to intensify operational engagements geared towards securing the rescue of all hostages and restoring peace to all parts of the country.
“Government is also mindful of efforts of some patriotic and influential persons and institutions that are helping in securing the safe release of the hostages.
“President Buhari welcomes the return of the recently released passengers back to their families and loved ones while expressing his solemn commitment to the families of those still in captivity, assuring that there will be no let-up until they are reunited with their families in the shortest time possible,” the statement added.
The ICIR reported that the Abuja-Kaduna train came under terrorist attack on March 28.
The terrorists used an improvised explosive device to derail the train, after which several passengers were abducted.
Many other passengers also sustained injuries in the attack.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.