Families of the kidnapped passengers of the March 28, 2022 Abuja-Kaduna train attack, have vowed to take to the streets and occupy key government facilities in Abuja and Kaduna to demand the rescue of their loved ones who have spent over 90 days in captivity.
It would be recalled that the attack led to the death of nine passengers with 63 others abducted before 11 of the passengers regained their freedom leaving about 50 of the kidnapped passengers still in captivity. The abducted passengers would be clocking 100 days next week Tuesday in the camp of the kidnappers.
The kidnapped passengers’ family members who stated this while addressing journalists in Kaduna yesterday said they are worried and scared of losing their family members in the terrorists’ captivity, especially with reports of snake bites and gunshot injuries the captives were said to have suffered.
Speaking on behalf of the families, Dr Abdulaziz Atta whose aged mother and sister are in the terrorists’ captivity said, members of victims’ families would be staging a sit-down and occupy protest at public facilities until their loved ones are rescued.
According to Atta, “We read from the media that one of our loved ones, Al-Amin was shot and that it was an accidental discharge by one of the non-state actors guarding our loved ones, but the key question now is the state of health of the person that has gunshot wounds. There is no antibiotics, nobody to remove the bullets from his body, just imagine the current situation he will be in the bush. He needs urgent support, if he is not brought out of the bush, we may lose him.
“To be fair, we are seeing some of the outcomes of the government’s efforts. We have seen 11 of our loved ones that have been released, and from the press statement that was released from Garba Shehu on behalf of the President, he made it clear that their children were released to them for us to have our loved ones. We heard it from the highest authority, we know that the government is working on it, yes, they are working on it, but what we are demanding is that they should hasten their release, every single moment they spend in the bush is dangerous.
“The agents of government that are involved in this negotiation need to do more, what we want simply is that, we want our loved ones out, we have kids as you have heard earlier on, as young as three years old and from the feedback we had, these kids are unattended to, we have women injured, we have aged women and men, those people should be brought out.
“By Tuesday next week, which is going to be 100 days that they have been in captive, we are planning to do a physical protest. We will be having siting in key govt facilities, we planned to sit there till our loved ones are out. So, we are changing our strategies, we will change our strategies from the media conference, the media have been excellent to us, but now we are going to move out physically for people to see us on the streets,” he said.
Earlier, one of the female family members, Hajia Fatima Ciroma said, the past 94 days have been days of living in fear, sleep-deprived, wearing the same clothes, under the scorching sun and rain, and exposed to all sorts of hazards. “The emotional, psychological, mental, and physical torture arising from these conditions can only be imagined,” she added.
Ciroma said, “We read in the media that one of the abductees was shot by the non-state actors holding our loved ones in captivity. Unfortunately, this abductee is left unattended to the gunshot wound and may lose his life.
“Among other abducted passengers are children, some as young as three years, women, an 85-year-old great grandmother, and others. Some of these victims have health challenges that require daily medications, which they have had no access to in the last 94 harrowing days.
“While some families have their breadwinners in captivity, others have their wives, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, and aunts held down in the forest. This sad event has dramatically disrupted the conditions of affected families. Children are left to cry every day, with the only question being when mummy is coming back and when daddy is coming back home. What a sorry state.
“Since this unfortunate attack on the Abuja-Kaduna bound train, we believe the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, alongside his security and intelligence chiefs have been working to rescue our loved ones. We have been assured that a positive outcome of these efforts will be apparent soon. How long do we wait?
“Our prayer is for the Federal Government to prioritize the quick and safe rescue of our family members held hostage. This position aligns with the prayers of the majority of Nigerians,” she said.