CEM REPORT | Seven from the dozens of passengers abducted on March 28 by gunmen who derailed the moving train on the Abuja–Kaduna route have the released. The lead negotiator for the release of the victims, Kaduna-based newspaper publisher, Tukur Mamu, announced that he secured the release of the abductees through mediation.
However another report have suggested that the release was secured after a ransom of N800 million was paid according to an exclusive report by Daily Trust.
The report titled: “Families Paid N800m To Secure Release Of 7 Kaduna Train Captives”, reveals that the ransom was paid to the abductors in naira and US dollars.
While families of the six Nigerian victims paid N100 million the abductors pegged the ransom for the Pakistani at N200 million.
“Only N200 million was collected in naira, the remaining N600 million was paid in the equivalent of US dollars.”
While there was no mention of this in the earlier announcement by the negotiator, the reports adds that a family member of the release said they had no choice as the Federal Government abandoned them.
“All the families of the victims felt abandoned by the federal government and therefore had to pay for the release of their loved ones,”
“The truth is that the FG is indifferent to our plight…Those in power don’t care if the captives are all killed.
“That is why we sold our property and raised the money. It is the same for the families of all those released. We all paid through our nose but Alhamdulillah, it is worth it.”
This came days after the abductors sent an audio clip to victims’ families threatening to kill the captives if the families were unwilling to strike a deal with them.
On their welfare while the captivity, the report details the account of one of the released; who said the attack on the train was a collaborative operation between the B/Haram elements who held them and some bandits familiar with the train adding the location where they were held was an open forest with only three huts within the vicinity.
“They entered into an alliance with the bandits so as to benefit from their numbers and their familiarity with the train. In fact, even the location where we were held in the forests around Birnin Gwari they told us it was not their territory, they got permission from some bandits to keep us there,”
“The men shared two huts while the women and kids used the other one. There were 20 of us in the hut I stayed in as of the time of our release on Saturday. They treated us fairly well without maltreating anyone, other than that first time they lashed us up when their leader called Malam Baffa came to see us immediately after we arrived.
“On some days they would slaughter a cow for us. The latest was the one they killed to celebrate the Sallah. They also preached to us every time either by themselves or through playing recorded preaching including by some prominent clerics.”
Furthermore, the report adds that the released who pleaded anonymity said their abductors were also behind the Kuje Medium Security Correctional Centre attack noting there was wild jubilation after the attack.
Although no organisation has claimed responsibility for the train attack, however the Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) has claimed responsibility for the jailbreak with a 33-second video showing its men in action during the siege on the facility.
The abductors had previously released three batches of the captives, including managing director of the Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, a group of eleven victims and a pregnant woman released alone.
According to BBC, citing a report by SBM Intelligence, a think-tank based in Lagos, kidnappers have collected at least $18m from victims’ relatives since 2011, with more than half of it between 2016 and 2020.
This figures have since almost doubled as the spate of the act has intensified in recent months.