President Muhammadu Buhari has directed increased efforts through kinetic and non-kinetic means to bring the case of the kidnapped railway passengers in Kaduna State to a closure.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, announced the president’s directive yesterday in a statement titled “President Buhari Directs Urgency in Dealing with Kidnapped Railway Passengers’ Case”.
Passengers were abducted when bandits attacked a train plying Abuja-Kaduna route on March 28, 2022.
Tukur Mamu, a Kaduna-based publisher who negotiated the release of 11 of the passengers, had on Monday said some of the victims had been bitten by snakes.
Providing an update on Tuesday, the presidential spokesman said the government had continued to review the issue of the passengers and making all efforts to trace and bring back the 51 or more still being held in custody.
Shehu said upon the President’s approval, the government had continued on the two-lane approach, kinetic and non-kinetic, to secure the passengers’ safe release.
He said, “The President’s clear directive” on the issue was that the hostages must be brought home alive, stressing that the country’s military and security agencies were aware of their duty to the nation and were determined to give effect to the President’s charge with increased urgency.
“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.”