Bandits responsible for the March 28 Abuja-Kaduna train attack have threatened to kill the abducted passengers in their custody if the federal government fails to meet their demands within seven days.
The threats are contained in the latest edition of the Kaduna-based DESERT HERALD newspaper, whose publisher, Tukur Mamu, is a media consultant to Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, an Islamic cleric.
Mamu said the bandits contacted him through one of their leaders simply identified as Abu Barra with firm instructions to convey the message to the victims’ families and the federal government.
In a telephone conversation, the abductors told Mamu that though the federal government had contacted them on how to secure the release of the abducted passengers, their insincerity put the lives of the abductees at risk.
The bandits also said that the suspended resumption of train services by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on the Abuja-Kaduna route was a result of their threat to the government.
They said the federal government was not sincere with the negotiations, warning that unless their children detained in Adamawa State are released, the kidnapped passengers will be killed.
”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,” Barra said.
“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 recognise the fearlessness in you.
“Our children numbering about eight, between the ages of one and 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.”
The bandits said they would release the women in their custody and swap the male hostages for their detained commanders