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Relatives of Kidnapped Train Passengers Block Govt Office, Demand Victims’ Rescue



Relatives of the victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train bandits’ attack have picketed the headquarters of the Ministry of Transportation in Abuja, following the release of a new video by the bandits, introducing another dimension to the four-month-old incident, which began on March 28, with the terrorists storming the train, killing some, wounding others, before kidnapping their victims.

Ahmed Aruwa, spokesman of the protesters who occupied the main entrance to the ministry on Monday, with a demand to the Federal Government to take steps to secure the release of their loved ones who were abducted by gunmen at Katari village on March 28, said they would continue to block the entrance of the action until they get a definite response from the government.

The demonstration came barely 24 hours after the bandits, who are holding the victims in captivity, released a new video in which they were seen manhandling some of the victims and flogging them with sticks as they cried and pleaded for help.
Although some of the train passengers have been released after ransoms were reportedly paid, dozens of victims, who are said to be left in the custody of the bandits, have continued to bewail their situation, with the bandits increasing their methods of torture consistently, to get government responds to what they say is their demand.
One of the abducted passengers, who was captured narrating how they were kidnapped, while lamenting that the government had failed to secure their release, pleaded with members of the international community, including the United Nations, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France, among others to help them out.

Stating that the terrorists have no intention of keeping them longer than necessary in the forest, another female victim was seen crying and called the Federal Government wicked, while a man who seemed to be a leader of the gang threatened that the terrorists would kidnap top government officials, politicians, and senators, including President Muhammadu Buhari and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

But the Presidency, apparently seems unpersuaded by the action of the terrorists, saying it was not new all over the world that terrorists use propaganda and violence to force governments to accept or submit to political demands, adding in a statement by Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesman on Sunday that the nation’s security and defence forces were not clueless or helpless.
“The dilemmas in dealing with the specific case of train terrorists are manifold: punitive action like the popular call for carpet bombing of the known locations may assuage the desire of an angry public for revenge, but what about the hostages? They have committed no offence.

All they did was board a train. It suffices to say that the security forces are not relenting. They are acutely aware of their duties, responsibilities, and what the nation expects of them. Whenever they embark upon those actions, they expect that the public should provide them with the needed support,” he said.

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