By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo
The Media Consultant to Sheikh Ahmad Gumi and ‘Dan Iyan Fika, Malam Tukur Mamu has said that 11 kidnapped train passengers have been released on Saturday by the terrorists.
Vanguard had earlier reported how Mamu acted as middle man and lead negotiator between the Federal Government and the terrorists who they trusted could deliver their exact messages to the government.
Mamu however said that contrary to their earlier commitment to release all the women in their custody, a total number of 11 victims were released on Saturday.
” The released 6 females and 5 males. They include Jessy John, Amina Ba’aba Mohammed , Rashida Yusuf Busari, Hannah Ajewole ,Amina Jibril, Najib Mohammed Daiharu, Gaius Gambo, Hassan Aliyu, Peace A. Boy and Danjuma Sa’idu.”
Journalists gathered that the male victims were released on health ground as part of the request made by the negotiating team while the women who were among the vulnerable were part of the agreement reached with the terrorists.
According to a source, ” it was expected initially that all the abducted women will be released in the first batch while negotiations for the release of the remaining victims will continue but according to another source that was privy to Saturday’s engagement with the abductors, they decided to cut down the number of women they initially agreed to release because of FG’s demand to include those with life threatening injuries/illnesses among the ones they released.”
“The abductors have initially insisted that the only condition they will accept to start negotiating the release of their victims is when government release their teenage children unconditionally but Mamu insisted that no government will accept such bargain as they must also show signs of good will and make acceptable compromises too by way of releasing some of the victims,” the source added.
Asked to give the full and exact details of the process that led to the release of the 11 victims,Mamu said that disclosing everything will jeopardize ongoing negotiations to release the remaining victims and may even endanger their safety.
“We have succeeded in building confidence now, we will do everything to sustain it in the interest of the innocent victims that are still in captivity. It’s a painful and frustrating process but it must be done if we are to secure the precious lives of the remaining victims”
“The good news is our collective efforts have succeeded in securing the release of 11 of the victims so far. With the continued support of the FG all the remaining victims will be release soon Insha Allah.”
“President Buhari must be commended for understanding the gravity of the crisis and for giving directives to the security agencies. The CDS, Gen. Irabo has done excellently well under the circumstance. The Army and the DSS have played the crucial role. There is no military solution to this predicament”.
“But behind the scene, Sheikh Gumi by Allah’s will made it possible. He was involved from the day I started. In fact, I accepted that role because of his directives to that effect. Even the final arrangement of how and the safest place to get the victims was arranged and coordinated by him”.
On whether the children of the terrorists were released in line with the abductors demand and if money was involved, he said “I think it is the government that supposed to respond to that question. We are only concerned stakeholders with the privilege to compliment government efforts but I can assure you and I can confirm that no money is involved. I believe the urgent priority now for the government and us is how to safely secure the release of the remaining victims”.
“Even after that is done there should be security especially on the rail lines and that can only be achieved through mediation not the use of force because it is now very clear to everybody that our roads, our rail lines are vulnerable to attacks. Using the train especially for Abuja-Kaduna travels in view of the decaying condition of that road and it’s security implications remains the safest way to ensure and guarantee passengers safety.”
“It is now clear that if government did not explore the opportunity to dialogue especially with this particular armed groups no one can guarantee total safety of passengers on the rail lines and the government will continue to lose millions in revenue.”
“What we achieved today after nearly 3 months of the abduction is the power of dialogue and engagement which the use of force cannot achieve. Our security agencies are very much capable of confronting them but there’s a big dilemma whenever the lives of innocent citizens are involved, when they can be used as human shield, and when there’s little intelligence to dictate and stop impending attacks.”
“But I want to put it on record that for personal reasons I will henceforth disengage from the voluntary service of this ongoing dialogue to secure the release of the remaining victims. Already, I have succeeded in opening a channel of communication and building trust between the representatives of the government and the abductors. I have also succeeded in dousing the tension and earlier threat of execution.”
“I believe FG can now explore this opportunity to ensure that the remaining victims are released in good time. Even though the release of the eleven victims is a huge milestone I’m personally disappointed that they failed to give us all the women as we earlier agreed. But I believe even if it’s one life we succeeded in securing the reward is unquantifiable before Allah”
He said the 11 victims that were released have been flown on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari to Abuja for medical evaluation and treatment before the decision to reunite them with their families.
Mamu said some retired Army Generals and renowned professor at the Usman Dan-Fodio University, Sokoto were among the team of experts that contributed in facilitating the mediation and success of the release.