President Muhammadu Bihari has ordered security agencies to increase their efforts to rescue the abducted passengers of the Abuja-Kaduna bound train who were kidnapped by terrorists on March 28, 2022.
Buhari’s directive was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
Shehu stated that upon President Buhari’s approval, the Federal Government is continuing on the two-lane approach, kinetic and non-kinetic to secure the passengers’ safe release.
The presidential spokesman further disclosed that the abductors made a demand for the release of their members, adding that upon the settlement of that issue, the terrorists released eleven abducted train passengers.
It would be recalled that the terrorists, on June 11, released 11 of the abductees.
The Star had reported that the release of the 11 abductees, comprising six females and five males, was confirmed by the Publisher of Desert Herald, Tukur Mamu, who served as a mediator.
Mamu, who spoke to The Star, disclosed that popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Gumi, was influential in the release of the abducted train passengers.
He further commended President Buhari for understanding the gravity of the crisis and for giving directives to the security agencies in the country, adding that the Nigerian Army and the Department of the State Service (DSS) played a crucial role in the release of the abductees.
However, Shehu, on Tuesday, stated that 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.
He added that the Federal Government was also mindful of efforts of some patriotic and influential persons and institutions that have been helping in securing the safe release of the kidnapped train passengers.
The statement read: “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 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 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,” Shehu stated.