Remaining 23 kidnapped Kaduna train passengers regain freedom 

The seven-man presidential committee assembled by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, on Wednesday announced the rescue of the 23 remaining passengers of the Abuja-Kaduna train, who were kidnapped by terrorists on March 28th during an attack on the train.

The terrorists in large numbers with sophisticated weapons had attacked the Kaduna bound Abuja AK-9 train on the night of March 28, 2022 after bombing the train track to derail the train leading to the killing of nine passengers and abduction of 63 others. 

The abducted passengers were held hostage by the terrorists, as some of them were said to have been released upon paying the ransom of N100 million each, while others were said to have regained their freedom on compassionate ground following the intervention of Sheikh Ahmed Mahmud Gumi. 

The remaining 23 passengers spent 190 days in captivity inside the deep forest until their release on Wednesday. 

The train attack and abduction of it’s passengers had led to the suspension of train operations in the Abuja-Kaduna route since the attack 190 days ago.

The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, had said in a forum that the train service would remain shut until the hostages are reunited with their loved ones.

But the Presidential Committee in a statement signed by the Secretary to the Chief of Defence Staff Action Committee, Prof. Usman Yusuf, on Wednesday announced the rescue of the remaining 23 passengers.

Yusuf stated that the Committee secured the release of the victims on Wednesday at exactly 4:00pm.

Prof. Yusuf, according to the statement, commended all other sister security agencies and the Federal Ministry of Transportation for their immense contribution to the success of the rescue operation.

“The statement reads: “I am pleased to announce to the nation and the world that at 1600Hrs (4:00pm) today, Wednesday 5-10-2022, a seven-man Presidential Committee assembled by the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), General L E O Irabor, secured the release and took custody of all the 23 remaining passengers held hostage by Boko Haram Terrorists following the attack on the Abuja to Kaduna train on 28-3-2022.

“The nation owes a debt of gratitude to the Nigerian Military under the leadership of the CDS who conceived and guided the operation from start to finish. All sister security agencies and the Federal Ministry of Transportation contributed immensely to this operation. 

“The unwavering support of the President and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is what made it all possible. 

“Members of this Committee are grateful for the rare honour and privilege to be part of this Humanitarian Operation. May God Almighty Heal Our Wounds and Bring Peace to Our Land.”

The Federal Ministry of Transportation while confirming the release posted the Presidential Committee’s statement on its official WhatsApp group platform. Just as a top staff of the ministry who spoke anonymously said the statement was authentic and is directly from the minister.

Also confirming their release, Mrs Evelyn Asiribo, whose husband was amongst those kidnapped said: “We got notification that they have been rescued and that they out of the forest but we are yet to see them. We are hopeful that the news is true.”

Another leader of the victims’ families Forum in Kaduna, Malam Sani Lawal, confirmed their release saying that they have been informed of the hostages rescue. But they were yet to see the rescued abductees.

“It is true that the Chief of Defence Staff Action Committee has secured the release of the remaining 23 hostages. But I don’t know their next like be of action. Up till now most of the family member that I spoke to none of them has seen their relatives that were released. The person that signed the press release is a member of the Action Committee set up by the Chief of Defence Staff. It is authentic, it is true. Up till now they are under the care of the Nigerian Defence. I don’t know where they are, probably they are in Kaduna, maybe they would fly them to Abuja to see the President,” he said.

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