The relatives of abducted passengers of Abuja-Kaduna Train Attack have, Monday morning, staged a peaceful protest at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Transportation in Abuja, demanding the release of their loved ones held hostage while preventing staff of the ministry from accessing their offices.
AFRIPOST reports that the development is coming 24 hours after a new video emerged showing the terrorists flogging the victims, threatening to kidnap President Muhammadu Buhari and governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State.
The victims were kidnapped during an attack on March 28, 2022, where nine people also died.
Frustrated by the plight of their loved ones, the families on Monday morning stormed the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry supervising the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), the operator of the train.
The protesters, who wielded placards, demanded the release of their people.
As of the time of filing this report, officials of the Ministry were not allowed entry into their offices.
Buhari has repeatedly directed security operatives to rescue the victims.
Daily Trust reports that since the attack, four months ago in which 60 passengers were abducted, at least 20 of the victims have been released in batches after they each paid a ransom of N100m while over 40 victims are still in captivity.
A source told this newspaper that the beating of victims by terrorists was triggered by anger over the blockade of a ransom in exchange for some of the captives.
A victim filmed in the video clip, Mukhtar Shuaibu, confirmed the terrorists’ disenchantment over the blockade of the ransom.
“We don’t know what offence we have committed to the government of this country. We were born in this country. We have been here for 120 days, yet the government has been unable to rescue us. What is our offence to this country? Some of us were to be released recently but security agents blocked the access and refused to let our relatives come for us,” he said.
Speaking with one of our correspondents, a source whose younger brother is in captivity said as promised earlier, the terrorists had begun negotiating directly with relatives and had agreed to release some of the captives, especially one of them who is said to be ill.
“Some of the relatives had approached the meeting point when they came in contact with some soldiers who blocked access to the forests and even threatened to arrest them,” he said.
“This is what triggered the latest video by the terrorists, this is why they flogged them to send a message and also threatened to abduct top government officials,” he said.