The presidency yesterday explained why it cannot rain bombs on the forest where Kaduna train attack hostages are being held saying doing so will kill the innocent victims whose only crime was boarding train.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, made statement yesterday in response to a new video released by the train attack terrorists in which they threatened, among other things, to kill some of their captives, sell off some others and kidnap both President Muhammadu Buhari and Kaduna State Governor Nasir El Rufai if their demands are not met quickly enough.
In the statement, Garba Shehu said the country’s security and defence forces are not clueless or helpless, but that terrorist were trying to use propaganda and violence to force governments to accept or submit to political demands – a strategy that is not new all over world.
According to him, the security forces have their plans and ways of doing things which they will not display in the media.
Shehu noted that using the air force to bomb the kidnappers’ location would destroy the same persons that government and Nigerians want rescued alive.
He said, “The dilemmas in dealing with the specific case of train terrorists are manifold: punitive action like the popular call for carpet bombing of the known locations may assuage the desire of an angry public for revenge, but what about the hostages? They have committed no offence. All they did was to board a train.
“It suffices to say that the security forces are not relenting; they are acutely aware of their duties, responsibilities and what the nation expects of them.”
He also urged the public and the media to support the troops in tackling the terrorists.
“Whenever they embark upon those actions, they expect that the public should provide them with the needed support,” he added.
Shehu explained that terrorism is a global scourge that must be fought by all actors- the military, the civilian population and the communication service providers.
He said this is the only way safe havens of terrorists are eliminated in every part of the world.
“To help the nation against ongoing situation, the media must increase their support for the fight against the exploitation of the internet and social media for terrorist purposes.
“The presidency, in the meantime, wishes to reassure the public that the President has done all, and even more than what is expected of him as Commander-in-Chief by way of morale, material and equipment support to the military and expects nothing short of good results in the immediate,” he added
Yesterday, the terrorists who attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28, killing nine persons and abducting over 60 passengers, released a new video where the victims were being tortured.
They also threatened to abduct and kill President Buhari and Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State.
LEADERSHIP reports that of the 63 train passengers they kidnapped, about 20 have been released at different times, after payment of ransom amounting to hundreds of millions, while 43 passengers are still in captivity.
In a new video, the terrorists were seen flogging the remaining 43 hostages, with women and children among the victims weeping profusely.
The terrorists also boasted that they would kill the remaining passengers in their custody and sell off the others.
One of the terrorists threatened that unless the government complies with their demands, they would turn the area into an abattoir.
He vowed to abduct President Muhammadu Buhari, Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai and other prominent Nigerians and destabilise the country if their demands are not met.
He said, “The government set up one useless committee to negotiate release of these people. The committee members are there in Abuja just taking tea. Already we know they are just buying time. Their plan is to use force to rescue the hostages, but that is not possible. We that we are looking at your (government’s) weapons and fighter jets are not more than mere spider web.
“We are on the path of God and we don’t fear anybody. We put our lives on the line to follow the instructions of God. So, you should know that, like we have promised you before, if you don’t take urgent action, this place will turn to an abattoir. “This is our message to the government of Nigeria and just as you have seen these people here, by God’s grace, you will see your leaders; your senators and governors will come before us. These ones you are seeing here, we will keep some as our slaves and sell them off just as our Imam told you in the past.
Meanwhile, the only victim who spoke in the video said the terrorists didn’t plan to keep them hostage for more than a week, except for the laxity of the federal government in meeting their demands.
He also alleged that the government was stopping their relatives from paying ransom to secure their release, yet it is not cooperating with their abductors to ensure they are freed.
The victim however called on the international community and the United Nations to come to their rescue as the Nigerian government was not showing any concrete interest in setting them free.
Bandits Kill 3, Kidnap Others In Katsina As Police Neutralise 2 In Kaduna
Meanwhile, terrorists yesterday attacked motorists plying Katsina-Jibia Road in Katsina State, shooting dead three persons and kidnapping several on yesterday afternoon.
A reliable source who witnessed the attack said he saw several people with bullet wounds when the gunmen opened fire on the bus and other vehicles plying the road.
According to him, the driver of a state-owned commercial coaster vehicle, with registration number KT 14D-58 KT, was among three people killed during the incident.
He added that the gunmen also stormed a village called Farun Bala where they also rustled cows and stole other items belonging to the residents.
He said, “The gunmen blocked the Katsina-Jibia road when they commenced operation, and some vehicles plying the road were forced to stop. It happened on Jibia weekly market day, which usually makes the road very busy.
“The gunmen also forced several passengers who were plying the roads in four vehicles into the forest.”
The source lamented that the Katsina-Jibia road had at least 20 security checkpoints, including those of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the police, but wondered why they didn’t do anything to stop the gunmen from operating.
He added that several of the villagers and passengers had called on security personnel stationed at a checkpoint close to the village to intervene, but there was no response.
The Jibia local government chairman, Bishir Maitan confirmed the incident.
The state police command is yet to make an official comment on the attack.
In Kaduna State, the state police command said it had killed two bandits and recovered one AK47 rifle, a motorcycle and a machete in addition to rescuing kidnapped victims in Timburku village of Giwa local government area of Kaduna State.
According to a statement issued by the spokesperson of the command, DSP Muhammed Jalige, upon receipt of a report through the DPO Kidandan on 23rd July, 2022 at about 0800hrs that some bandits had kidnapped an unspecified number of farmers from their farms at Timburku village Galadimawa ward of Giwa LGA, the Commissioner of Police CP Yekini Ayoku immediately mobilised policemen from a nearby detachment of Police Operation Restore Peace (hitherto codenamed as Operation Puff Adder II) to the area.
He said in the statement that in a shootout that ensued with the armed hoodlums, the policemen prevailed with their superior fire power leading to the killing of two of the bandits, and the recovery of one AK47 rifle loaded with two rounds of live ammunition, one motorcycle and a machete.
The farmers were also rescued unhurt.
Meanwhile, he said, investigation into the incident had since been instituted while surveillance and patrols are in high gear to forestall any further incident as normalcy is restored in the affected area.
“The populace is as well enjoined to provide information on any person or group who are found nursing bullet wounds,” he stated.
Gunmen Kill Kwara Businessman As Police Recover AK- 47 Rifle Ammunition
Unknown gunmen have killed a 40- year- old Lagos based businessman, Biola Osundiya, in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The police said they recovered an AK- 47 rifle ammunition from the scene of the incident.
LEADERSHIP gathered that Osundiya who came to Ilorin to spend time with his family was murdered last Wednesday at about 6pm.
A source said the businessman was trailed a drinking spot beside the Kwara State Centre for Arts and Culture along Lagos road, Garin Alimi in Ilorin metropolis, and shot at close range.
The victim’s younger brother, Segun, who confirmed the killing of Osundiya, called on the security agents to fish out his killers.
The spokesman of the Kwara State Police Command, Ajayi Okasanmi, said the police were on the trail of the killers.
Northern Youths Beg President To Intervene
Meanwhile, the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately rescue the remaining abducted train passengers without delay, saying they will soon meet with Southern groups to take decision on state of the nation.
Reacting to the recent terrorists’ video over the abducted train passengers, the national president of AYCF, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, accused the Buhari-led federal government of being only interested in the ruling party winning the 2023 polls rather than tackling the security and economic challenges facing the country.
Shettima added, “We are consulting with other northern groups in the North and very soon all Northern groups will meet. After our northern meeting, we will meet Southern groups and take a position on this problem. We can’t continue like this.”
Gunmen Kill 3 Policemen, Omo-Agege’s Aide ln Delta
Unknown gunmen yesterday invaded the divisional police station in Okpanam town, Oshimili North local government area of Delta State and killed three policemen, destroyed a van and escaped with ammunition.
About five vigilante members who tried to join forces with the overpowered policemen and rescued them were injured and are in critical condition.
A youth leader in the area, Lucky Okolo, who confirmed the development, advised the residents to be security conscious.
He said information got to them about the attack and they mobilised the vigilantes to the scene, adding that when they got there the damage had been done.
Similarly, an aide of the Deputy Senate President, Snator Ovie Omo-Agege, Mr Cyril Mudiagbe, popularly called Cyril Makanaki, has been shot dead by gunmen in Sapele, Sapele local government area of Delta State.
He was said to have been killed on Saturday night in his house in the Decima area of the town and found in a pool of his blood yesterday morning.
The incident has caused tension in the area as security operatives, including men of the vigilante group, have begun the search for the killers while many of the shops in the area had a been closed as a result of the incident.
A neighbour, who simply identified himself as Lucky, claimed that the gunmen were robbers, saying “they came to rob. They first went to the plaza opposite the house before coming to this place.”
Another neighbour, Eniagbe, who claimed to live in the same compound with Mudiagbe, said the gunmen shot the deceased through the window, saying “they were banging his window and when he opened it, he was shot on his chest.”
The state police command public relations officer, DSP Edafe Bright, when contacted, confirmed the attacks but said, “I am yet to be properly briefed, but will get back to you on the development.”
Edafe said three policemen were killed and others wounded in Okpamam, near Asaba on Sunday when their patrol vehicle was ambushed.
The officers who were attacked near the divisional police headquarters were said to be responding to a distress call.
The patrol team had barely driven out of the station when the gunmen opened fire on the occupants.
One of the suspects, he said, had been arrested and appealed to the general public for more useful information that could lead to the arrest of the others.