Train Attack: Bandits contact newspaper linked to Gumi, issue 2 demands, 3 threats; publisher appeals to FG

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Bandits who attacked the Abuja-Kaduna bound train on March 28 said they will starve their captives and kill them one by one if the federal government refuses to heed their demand in seven days’ time.

The terrorists made this public in  newspaper published in Kaduna.

The DESERT HERALD newspaper, whose publisher, Malam Tukur Mamu, is a media consultant to controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who has been interceding for bandits across the north.

Manu said the bandits contacted him through one of their leaders identified as Abu Barra.

The bandits told Mamu that the federal government contacted them on how to secure the release of the abducted passengers but “there seem to be insincerity on the part of the government putting the lives of the passengers at risk.”

“The government suspended the resumption of the train service indefinitely because of our threats and we repeat, if our conditions are not met, the resumption of the train service is to the detriment of the government and the passengers.

“We don’t need money. We have a good reason for doing what we did until our demands are met none of the victims will come out alive even if it means we all die with them. They are well taken care of as you can see from the pictures we sent to you via WhatsApp but we assure you that this will not continue.

“We choose you (Tukur Mamu) to convey this important message to the government, the families of the victims and Nigerians in general because we believe you won’t alter our message and we have seen you severally with Sheikh Gumi in the forest, therefore, we recognized the fearlessness in you,” said the leader of the terror group

Barra added the abduction of the train passengers was a retaliation for the arrest and detention of their children by security operatives.

“Our children numbering about 8 between the ages of one to seven years are currently being held at an orphanage in Jimeta, Adamawa State under the supervision of the Nigerian Army.

“The names of our children are; Abdulrahman, Bilkisu, Usman, Ibrahim and Juwairiyyah. They were forcefully taken from our wives in Nasarawa and taken to the orphanage in Yola,” he said.

“For any continued discussion on the release of these passengers and a safe resumption of the train service, our children must be released unconditionally. Only then we will release some of the abducted victims especially the women while other passengers will be released on a prisoner exchange with some of our arrested comrades by the government.”

Barra warned that if within seven days the government failed to respond to their demands, they would stop feeding the victims in their custody and start slaughtering(killing) them one by one, adding also the Nigerians should forget using the Abuja-Kaduna rail line as well as the Kaduna-Abuja high way.

He added that they(bandits) would make life hellish for those plying the Abuja-Kaduna expressway should the government decided send troops to attack them.

“Therefore, we rely on you and urged you to convey this important message to everyone,” he added.

Mamu has thus appealed to the federal government to respond to the terrorists, adding prisoner exchange is a mitigation measure known around the world..

“Time is not on our side. The government must understand that they are dealing with persons with misguided ideology and tainted religious beliefs,’ he said.

“These people are not scared of death. They seem to believe that they are martyrs when they die. It will be a serious mistake to take this threat lightly. I believe an opportunity has been created for us to explore to save the lives of those innocent victims.

“For me, if these innocent victims will regain their freedom because of my involvement and provided that will lead to relative peace and security on our highways and rail lines, I wouldn’t mind if I die in the process.

“We must accept the fact that security alone on the Abuja-Kaduna highways remains more fragile than ever and the solution is not militarily alone, especially in a country where impending attacks can hardly be dictated and stopped.”

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