No ransom on 23 released Abuja-Kaduna rail kidnap victims, says Sambo

  • President Muhammadu Buhari with the now freed hostages

By Anthony Nwachukwu

After over six months in the den of the terrorists who kidnapped them during their attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28, 2022, the remaining 23 victims were released Wednesday without a kobo ransom, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has said.

Sambo told a press briefing organised to update Nigerians on the situation, and to meet with the victims at the ministry that the Federal Government secured the release of the last batch of hostages free of charge.

According to him, “because this government does not support and approve ransom payment, no kobo was paid in exchange for these 23 hostages and even for the release of the other hostages.”

He explained that a committee of retired generals assisted in securing their release, after which they were taken to a military hospital in Kaduna for adequate healthcare.

“What I want you to know is that there is a committee made up of some retired generals and some retired public officers of high-ranking status who assisted the military and security agencies throughout the process of securing the release of these hostages,” he stated.

“Now, there are two things I want you to bear in mind. All through these incidents, it is the position of this government that under no circumstances should there be collateral damage.

“In other words, the military and security agencies that have been charged with the responsibility of securing the release of these hostages should not act in a way that will endanger the lives of the same hostages in the process of securing them.”

He added that after the medical attention, the victims yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari, who visited them at the hospital, and reunited with their families afterwards.

Meanwhile, with the release of the victims, the Abuja-Kaduna rail service will soon resume under short and long term plans, Sambo said, adding that government was already putting security measures in place for passenger safety and to forestall a recurrence of such ugly occurrences.

He explained that in about three months, the rail corridors would have been fortified and certified for passenger safety, and the public would be informed about resumption of services.

For security reasons, however, “it is not appropriate to reveal exactly what measures have been taken to secure the release of hostages of this nature.

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