…warn FG to release their eight children detained in Yola or risk losing passengers in captivity
The abductors of the passengers on the Abuja-Kaduna bound train attacked on March 28, 2022, have warned the Federal Government to release their children being held in a detention facility in Yola, Adamawa State or risk the killing of their hostages if their demands are not met in the next seven days.
Malam Tukur Mamu, spokesman to prominent Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, claimed that the leaders of the terrorist group that abducted the train passengers spoke with him on the phone and directed him to relay their threat message to government and relations of victims.
The terrorists in the audio of the conversation between them and Mamu claimed that the Federal Government suspended the resumption of the train service because of their threats.
According to them, ”The government suspended the resumption of the train service indefinitely because of our threats and we repeat, if our conditions are not met, the resumption of the train service is to the detriment of the government and the passengers.
“We don’t need money. We have a good reason for doing what we did, until our demands are met none of the victims will come out alive even if it means we all die with them. They are well taken care of as you can see from the pictures we sent to you via WhatsApp but we assure you that this will not continue.
“We choose you (Tukur Mamu) to convey this important message to the government, the families of the victims and Nigerians in general because we believe you won’t alter our message and we have seen you severally with Sheikh Gumi in the forest, therefore, we recognize the fearlessness in you”.
Leader of the terrorists, Abu Barra, noted that it’s been two months since the abduction of the train passengers, warning that anything could happen to them henceforth.
Barra said they abducted the train passengers in retaliation for the arrest and detention of their children by security agencies.
He said, “Our children numbering about eight between the ages of one to seven years are currently being held at an orphanage in Jimeta, Adamawa State under the supervision of the Nigerian Army.
“The names of our children are; Abdulrahman, Bilkisu, Usman, Ibrahim and Juwairiyyah. They were forcefully taken from our wives in Nasarawa and taken to the orphanage in Yola.
“For any continued discussion on the release of these passengers and a safe resumption of the train service, our children must be released unconditionally. Only then we will release some of the abducted victims, especially the women while other passengers will be released on a prisoner exchange with some of our arrested comrades by the government.”
Barra added that pictures of the passengers they sent earlier, were among some of those they sent to the government negotiation team as proof of the victims’ well being. They accused of becoming lacklustre since then.
Abu Barra further said they decided to come to a GSM enabled location with one of the female victims to talk to Malam Mamu.
To confirm their claims, Mamu said he could hear her cries with a very low voice that probably indicated exhaustion, pleading with him to talk to the government on their behalf to urgently intervene.
The terrorists’ leader threatened that if within seven days the government failed to grant their demands, they would starve the victims and begin to slaughter them one after the other.
He further threatened that if after that the government still failed to respond to them, Nigerians should forget using the Abuja-Kaduna rail line and the Kaduna-Abuja high way.
He said, “If the government decided not to respond so be it. We are warning Nigerians, especially those that are patronizing the train that if this matter is not resolved peacefully, the day they decided to attack us or do anything funny, passengers or commuters should forget to use the train or follow the Abuja-Kaduna road because we will be consistent and they can’t stop us. We believe that you will deliver this message as it is.
“Therefore, we rely on you and urge you to convey this important message to everyone.”
Replying the terrorists’ leader, Mamu said he understood government’s predicament in resolving the abduction imbroglio, stating every responsible government would look into saving innocent passengers’ lives and make painful compromises where necessary, even if it’s against its policy.
Mamu explained that prisoner exchange with known criminals on matters of national interest is a global practice which happens in many developed countries like the United States.
He stressed the need to avoid any military action that will lead to collateral damage and the loss of innocent lives.
Mamu said, “Time is not on our side, the government must understand that they are dealing with persons with a misguided ideology and tainted religious belief. These people are not scared of death, they seem to believe that they are martyrs when they die. It will be a serious mistake to take this threat lightly. I believe an opportunity has been created for us to explore to save the lives of those innocent victims.
“For me, if these innocent will regain their freedom because of my involvement and provided that will lead to relative peace and security on our highways and rail lines I wouldn’t mind if I die in the process. We must accept the fact that security alone on the Abuja-Kaduna highways remains more fragile than ever and the solution is not militarily alone, especially in a country where impending attacks can hardly be dictated and stopped.”