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Train attack: Security agencies negotiating with terrorists on abductees, says NRC

Security agencies are currently handling issues around negotiations for the release of abducted passengers, who boarded the Abuja-Kaduna train that was bombed by terrorists on March 28, 2022 in Kaduna.

It was gathered on Friday from the Nigeria Railway Corporation that efforts were being made to secure the release of the passengers, as the terrorists had been contacting their family members.

The Managing Director, NRC, Fidet Okhiria, also told our correspondent that 12 out of the 14 coaches of the attacked train had been recovered and moved to the corporation’s stations.

He stated that the half capsized coach had been pushed back to a standing position as it almost tumbled following the explosion of the bomb planted by terrorists on the rail line.

Asked if the NRC was involved in the negotiations with the terrorists for the release of the abducted victims, Okhiria replied, “The security people are handling that.

“Whatever information our men get, they pass it to them (security agencies). We don’t talk with those people (terrorists) at all. When the families (of the victims) call us, we pass them to the security agencies.

“This is because we are not in position to talk to them (terrorists). It is an issue being handled by the security agencies.”

Providing updates on the incident, the NRC boss stated that extensive rolling stock recovery had been achieved.

He said, “Specifically at the close of work today (April 7, 2022), the half capsized coach (SP 00003) has been pushed back to a standing position and the coach (SPA 00002) was re-railed and pushed to the Rigasa Station.

“The total number of recovered coaches is now 12 out of 14. These include all 11 coaches of the attacked AK9 train and one coach of the rescue train. All 12 coaches recovered have been moved safely to our stations.

“Efforts are continuing to recover the remaining two coaches and Loco 2809. Intensive and more expansive track repair works have also been achieved at the incident site.”

Okhiria said the status of the 362 passengers and 20 train crew members on board the train remained the same as of the last update, adding that the corporation would continue to update the general public on the latest developments.

He appreciated the security agencies for their continued support and stated that the NRC would keep working hard till all the abducted passengers were reunited with their families.

Members of the family of a seven-month pregnant woman joined other families to stage a peaceful protest at the Radio House in Abuja on Thursday to demand her release.

A relative of the woman, Aliyu Mahmud, led the protesters, who displayed placards with different inscriptions.

The protesters had urged the Federal Government to redouble its efforts in rescuing the victims.

The Minister of State for Transportation, Ms Gbemisola Saraki, said security agencies were working hard to secure the freedom of the victims.

She said at a ministerial briefing, “The Ministry of Transportation is working with security agencies. It will be premature for us to say too much before the outcome of the exercise.

“I assure you that it is a comprehensive exercise and we implore each and all of us to exercise patience pending the outcome.

“We are very concerned about those kidnapped and we assure you that the security agencies are doing the best they can.”

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