Terrorists, who attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train, killed nine of the passengers and kidnapped over 60 others, have withdrawn their earlier threat to kill the remaining 62 passengers in captivity.
The terrorists, according to Malam Tulur Mamu, the media consultant to the Kaduna-based Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, have given the federal government a fresh two weeks ultimatum effective from today (Monday, 30th May, 2022) to release their (terrorists’) eight children in government’s custody.
The abductors of the train passengers had on Tuesday last week issued a seven-day ultimatum to the federal government to release their eight children in exchange for the 62 passengers or they (terrorists) would start slaughtering the kidnapped victims.
Mamu, who said, he had succeeded in reaching a truce with the terrorists, said it was achieved as location of the eight children the terrorists wanted released in exchange for the train passengers, had been established with the help of security agencies.
He said the terrorists shifted ground and even promised to continue to feed the captives well and attend to their medical needs, after photographs of the eight children were sent to them (terrorists) as a proof of life.
Mamu said security agencies located the eight children who are currently being held in Adamawa State.
He said when he sent the proof of the children’s existence to their (terrorists’) leader, Abu Barra, who had earlier contacted him, they were relieved, adding that, the gesture made them drop the threat.
He, however, called on the federal government to hasten the release of the terrorists’ children.
“I can authoritatively confirm that the earlier threat to stop feeding the over 60 abducted passengers of the Abuja-Kaduna bound train and threat to start executing the victims was successfully withdrawn on Saturday afternoon.
“This was as a result of ongoing engagement with the ‘Abu Barra’-led abductors. This is a good development, even though for issues that have to do with the safety of the victims, to ensure continuation of engagement with the abductors and to build confidence, we would not elaborate on this latest development which came less than 48 hours after the release of another threatening video of the kidnapped victims.
“We were able to identify the location of their eight children with the active support of the security agencies and eventually sent a proof of life and their children’s existence to the terrorists, a development that has helped to restore confidence,” Mamu said.
To this end, he affirmed that a temporary truce that would enable the government to facilitate action was indeed reached with the abductors.
“As a result of serious and frank engagement they have agreed to continue to take care of their victims including providing them with medical First Aid services which they said they had been doing.
“Also, they have withdrawn earlier threats to start killing them by Monday. I believe this is a major milestone that was facilitated by Almighty Allah to grant succour not only to the innocent victims but to their loved ones as well.
“I can confirm to you that our security agencies are showing concern and willingness to secure their release in safety. What we earlier released had encouraged them to do more. Nigerians should continue to pray and stop politicising this sensitive imbroglio. We must recognize that lives of innocent citizens are involved.
“But it is important to frankly state that they were very much categorical during our conversation on the conditions of withdrawing their earlier threat.
They said they would give the government the benefit of two weeks effective from Monday 30th May, to see the commitment of releasing their children before any talk that may lead to the release of some of their victims.
“In the absence of any alternative, I urge the government to please do the needful as soon as possible as many of the victims have serious health challenges and you know we are in the rainy season.
“My decision to accept the mediation efforts is purely on humanitarian grounds and as part of the sacrifice and commitment of Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Gumi to contribute to lasting peace and security across the North especially the North West.
“In view of the encouraging development, it remains to be seen how the government will react to it to ensure the immediate release of the kidnapped victims that have now spent two months in captivity,” he said.