No ransom was paid for release of 23 Abuja-Kaduna train hostages
• train service to resume in 3 months ― Transportation Minister
The Minister of Transportation, Mu-Azu Sambo has disclosed that the Abuja-Kaduna train service may resume in the next three (3) months following the release of the remaining 23 victims of the March 2022 attack that has left the service shut down for months.
Speaking on Friday in Abuja while receiving the abducted passengers who were released few days ago, the minister insisted that not one naira was paid to secure the release of the 23 victims.
Sambo said, “I want to state categorically that because this government does not support or approve ransom payment, no Kobo was paid in exchange for the release of the 23 hostages and even for the release of the other hostages.
The Minister revealed that the victims were released following the combined effort of a committee set up by the federal government, made up of retired Generals and some retired public officers of high ranking and status who assisted the military and the security agencies on a thorough process of securing the release of the hostages.
On the night of 28th March, 2022, an evening train heading to Kaduna from Abuja was attacked by gunmen using explosives on the rail tracks to stop the train.
About 62 persons were kidnapped by the terrorists after the attack. Over the past months, the terrorists have freed about 39 victims after collecting about N100 million as ransom per each victim.
But at the release of the 23 passengers, the last batch of hostages of the March attack, the Minister has insisted that, “It is not appropriate to reveal exactly what measures have been taken in order to secure the release of hostages of this nature.
“The security agencies were charged to ensure no collateral damage was recorded in the process of freeing the victims” Sambo noted that no one victim was hurt.”
He stated that after securing the release of the victims, they were taken to the Nigeria Air Force Hospital and are currently recuperating at the Nigeria Defense Academy Hospital in Kaduna state.
“Now, I can tell you, we are going to resume very soon and in order to resume train services, we have to put in place measures that will ensure that going forward such an incident will never ever happens in this country. And so we have a short-term and a long-term plan.
Sambo reaffirmed that both long-term and short-term measures have been designed by the Ministry of Transportation, adding that in the meantime, the short-term measures will be urgently put in place to ensure the resumption of train services very soon.
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