Train attack: Terrorists contact families of hostages


The terrorists who attacked a Kaduna-bound train and abducted unspecified number of passengers on Monday, have contacted their families.

They are yet to demand ransom, the families said yesterday.

No fewer than eight people, including Trade Union Congress (TUC) Secretary-General Musa Ozigi-Lawal, TUC Kwara State chapter Chairman Akin Akinsola, National Board of Technical Education (NBTE) director at Kaduna office, Abdul Isa Kofar-Mata and a dentist Dr Chinelo Nwandowere killed by the gunmen. About 41 others were injured.

A member of one of the families told our correspondent that the abductors informed them that their family members and many other passengers were safe.

The family member, who pleaded not to be named for security reasons, said the bandits made a telephone call on Tuesday night.

”They told us our sister and other missing passengers were with them in their camps and that she was safe. They didn’t say more than that before ending the call.

”We are scared. We are just praying for God’s intervention and her safety. We are pleading with the kidnappers to release her for us,” he said.

A journalist, whose mother and sister were kidnapped, said the bandits also contacted his brother.

He said his mother and sister arrived in Nigeria from Saudi Arabia and boarded the train to Kaduna.

”My mum and sister were on the train and are among those not accounted for.

”The bandits have contacted my brother but didn’t ask for ransom yet. They have told us that my mum and sister are with them in the forest.

”Please, join in prayer for their safe return. We are praying fervently that nothing bad will happen to them and others in their custody,” the journalist said.

Staff members of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), whose Managing Director Alwan Hassan is still missing, were in a sober mood at the headquarters in Kaduna.

Some of the survivors yesterday accounted for their encounter with the terrorists in an interview with our correspondent.

The Federal Government said it was working on measures to ensure there are no further attacks on trains, including recruiting villagers to secure the tracks and deploying aircraft and drones.

The police have acquired five additional high-powered unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, in a statement by the Acting Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, a chief superintendent of police (CSP), said the equipment was part of a policy to integrate the use of innovative technology in law enforcement duties.

”The drones will assist the [olice in monitoring active crime scenes, coordinating response operations, and providing aerial support to responding officers.

”The UAVs include an ALTI Transition, capable of covering up to 150km in a single flight with high endurance of up to 14 hours, and an Elistair Orion fixed-wing aircraft, capable of covering up to 92m altitude with high endurance of up to 50 hours and other sensitive and forensic-based features,” he said.

A police source said most of the drones will be deployed to monitor the Kaduna/Abuja rail track.