Train attack hostages ill in terrorists’ den – Ex-negotiator

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Malam Tukur Mamu, the media consultant to controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has said that many of the hostages held by the terrorists that attacked the AK-9 Abuja-Kaduna train passengers on March 28 have fallen ill in the terrorists’ den.

Mamu, a former negotiator and Publisher of Kaduna-based Desert Herald newspaper, who stated this in a statement obtained by The PUNCH in Kaduna on Tuesday, said the condition of the remaining 27 victims was deteriorating.

He, therefore, urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to speed up the release of the remaining hostages.

He also debunked the news making the rounds on social media that the remaining victims had been released by the hoodlums, saying that there was no iota of truth in that report.

Saying that although he had withdrawn as one of the negotiators of the train victims, he was still under intense pressure from the families of the hostages as regards their freedom.

Describing the rumour of the released hostages as “fake news”, Mamu said, “This is to confirm without doubt that the remaining 27 passengers of the train attack are still being held by their abductors, nearly 5 months after the unfortunate and preventable incidence.

“Though I have disengaged myself from negotiating, anxious family members, pressmen and concerned Nigerians have been calling to confirm the veracity of the news while many others justifiably have been celebrating and even congratulating relatives of the innocent victims.

“While it is a news we are all praying earnestly to hear, it is highly irresponsible for peddlers of fake news to circulate sensitive contents that are not only unverifiable, untrue but news items that will certainly trigger anxiety and concern amongst the family members of those that remained in captivity and millions of their well-wishers across the globe.

“The condition of the remaining victims is still very bad. Many of them are sick; the rainy season is affecting them so much.

“I urge President Muhammadu Buhari to intensify efforts in securing their release immediately as the situation remains highly unpredictable while the families of those that are still in the bush are incapacitated in whatever way to negotiate the safe release of their loved ones.”

The PUNCH had reported that with the release of the fifth batch of seven hostages on Wednesday, 27 victims are still in the custody of the terrorists, having set free 34 of hostages.

The terrorists had earlier released 11 victims in the first batch, seven victims in the second (7) batch, three (4) in the third and five (5) victims in the fourth batch while seven (7) hostages were released in fifth batch respectively.

On March 28, 2022, terrorists planted explosives devices along the rail track and when the Abuja-Kaduna bound AK-9 passenger train approached the point, the device exploded, causing the train to derail, leading to the death of eight passengers.

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