Monday, 11 July 2022

How Families Paid N800m To Secure Release Of 7 Kaduna Train Captives


 

Eight hundred million naira was paid to the terrorists holding captives seized from the AK9 train service attacked on the Abuja–Kaduna route before the additional seven victims were released on Saturday, some families of the victims and other sources knowledgeable of the deal said yesterday.

The released victims were among the dozens of passengers abducted on March 28 by gunmen who derailed the moving train.

No organisation has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but security sources and researchers attributed the daring attack to remnants of Boko Haram working in cahoots with members of the Darul Salam, another group mostly populated by Fulani youths dislodged from Niger and Nasarawa States at different times.

Some however attributed the attack to the Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) though, atypical of the group, they have not publicly laid claim to it.

The release of the seven victims came amid heightened fears that the terrorists would kill all those in their custody over the alleged failure of the federal government to respond to their demands.

On Tuesday, it was reported that the captors of the train passengers had sent an audio clip to victims’ families threatening to kill the captives if the families were unwilling to strike a deal with them.

It was reliably gathered that families of each of the six Nigerian victims paid N100 million while the captors pegged the ransom for the Pakistani at N200 million which was also paid.

Our sources said the terrorists collected the ransom in naira and US dollars.

“Only N200 million was collected in naira, the remaining N600 million was paid in the equivalent of US dollars,” one of our sources said.

Those released were identified as Muhammad Daiyabu Paki, Bosede Olurotimi, Abubakar Zubairu, Alhassan Sule, Sadiq Ango Abdullahi, Aliyu Usman and Muhammad Abuzar Afzal, the Pakistani.

“All the families of the victims felt abandoned by the federal government and therefore had to pay for the release of their loved ones,” another source close to one of the released “The truth is that the FG is indifferent to our plight…Those in power don’t care if the captives are all killed.

“That is why we sold our property and raised the money. It is the same for the families of all those released. We all paid through our nose but Alhamdulillah, it is worth it,” he said.

Daily Trust reports that the lead negotiator for the release of the victims, Kaduna-based newspaper publisher, Tukur Mamu, had on Saturday announced that he secured the release of the seven abductees through mediation as he was silent on any ransom paid.

Mamu, a media consultant to Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, had last week announced his withdrawal from negotiating with the terrorists due to the alleged government’s nonchalant attitude to the plight of the train abductees.

He, however, said he had to continue with the mediation because of immense pressure and appeal by the relations and loved ones of the victims.

Previously, the abductors had released three batches of the captives, including managing director of the Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, a group of eleven victims and a pregnant woman released alone. 

A security source said that the federal government rarely secures the release of any captive.

“Government is not amenable to releasing terrorists in their custody because of some international convention.

“It is however sad that in Nigeria, while we don’t agree to prisoner swap most of the time, the terrorists always have their way as evident in the recent attack on Kuje Prison where many high profile terrorists were released.

“We don’t have the capacity to protect our prison facilities and we don’t have the capacity to protect the citizens. Hundreds of terrorists have been set free in various prisons…It is unfortunate,” he said.



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