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Presidency reveals ongoing efforts to free kidnapped train passengers

Garba Shehu

The Presidency has revealed how terrorists who abducted the Kaduna railway passengers wanted a swap deal before releasing of the hostages.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, reveal the information on Tuesday, via a press statement.

The statement titled, “President Buhari Directs Urgency in Dealing with Kidnapped Railway Passengers’ Case.”

“The kidnappers made a demand for the release of their own children and upon the settlement of that issue, they let go eleven of the victims, even though more were expected.

“The setback notwithstanding, the Government is not leaving any stone unturned in the efforts to bring all of the hostages back,” the statement read.

Shehu further noted that the Federal Government was working assiduously to ensure the release of the 51 passengers still in captivity.

He explained, “As the government continues to review the issue of the kidnapped railway passengers and making all efforts to trace and bring back the 51 or more still being held in custody, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed increased efforts – kinetic and non-kinetic to bring the case to a closure.

“Upon the President’s approval, the Government is continuing on the two-lane approach, kinetic and non-kinetic to secure the passengers’ safe release.

“The Defence, Security and Intelligence Agencies have given assurances to intensify operational engagements geared towards securing the rescue of all hostages and restoring peace to all parts of the country. Government is also mindful of efforts of some patriotic and influential persons and institutions that are helping in securing the safe release of the hostages.

“President Buhari welcomes the return of the recently released passengers back to their families and loved ones, while expressing his solemn commitment to the families of those still in captivity, assuring that there will be no let-up until they are reunited with their families in the shortest time possible.

“The President’s clear directive on the issue is that the hostages must be brought home alive. The country’s military and security agencies are aware of their duty to the nation and are determined to give effect to the President’s charge with increased urgency.”

Earlier, the mediator between the terrorists who attacked and abducted passengers on board a Kaduna-bound train from Abuja on March 28, and the Federal Government, Malam Tukur Mamu warned that the remaining victims with the abductors are very sick and may soon die from snake bites if the government fails to act very fast in securing their release.

He also said most of the captives were vomiting blood as a result of poison from the snake bites.