By Kingsley Omonobi, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo
ABUJA—Almost six months after the Abuja-Kaduna train passengers were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists, the remaining 23 kidnapped victims have finally regained their freedom.
The cheering news was broken, yesterday, by Usman Yusuf, Secretary, Chief of Defence Staff Action Committee (CDSAC).
A Presidential Committee reportedly set up by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, to look into the abduction of victims of the Kaduna-Abuja train attack, secured the release of the 23 remaining victims in the terrorists’ captivity.
Yusuf in a statement said: “I am pleased to announce to the nation and the world that at 1600Hrs (4:00pm) today, Wednesday, 5-10-2022, the seven-man Presidential Committee assembled by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General L.E.O. Irabor, secured the release and took custody of all the 23 remaining passengers held hostage by Boko Haram terrorists following the attack on the Abuja to Kaduna train on 28-3-2022.
“The nation owes a debt of gratitude to the Nigerian military under the leadership of the CDS, who conceived and guided the operation from start to finish. All sister security agencies and the Federal Ministry of Transportation contributed immensely to this operation.
“The unwavering support of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari is what made it all possible.
“Members of this committee are grateful for the rare honour and privilege to be part of this humanitarian operation.
“May God Almighty heal our wounds and bring peace to our land.”
Recall that on March 28, an attack on a train on its way to Kaduna from Abuja resulted in killings, injuries and abductions.
On June, 11 of the abductees were released, while in July, seven more abducted passengers, including Sadiq, son of Ango Abdullahi, chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), were freed.
On August 2, five kidnap victims were released and in subsequent days, more abductees secured their freedom.
Buhari commends military
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his happiness and satisfaction and that of the entire nation with the military as well as other security agencies on safe release of the remaining 23 kidnapped train passengers.
In a reaction to the news of the safe release of the hostages in line with his earlier directives, Buhari said the nation owed the military and all other security and intelligence agencies a debt of gratitude for the successful conduct of the operation leading to the release of the hostages, saying these agencies had shown outstanding capabilities over this period that the whole world will not fail to take note of.
The President in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, was quoted as saying: “This country’s Armed Forces are as good as any. Given needed support and encouragement as we have been doing, there is no task that they cannot accomplish. I commend them for this remarkable outcome.”
In expressing satisfaction with the successful deployment of both kinetic and non-kinetic processes leading to the eventual safe release of the remaining hostages, Buhari also congratulated the families of the victims for having them back alive.
He directed that the relief that comes to the nation arising from the closure of this unfortunate saga must be sustained at all times, all over the federation.
CAN lauds military
Also, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, saluted the Nigerian military for rescuing all the remaining 23 kidnapped train passengers from captivity.
Rev. Joseph Hayab, Vice President of CAN in the North and Abuja, said they pray the military will sustain the tempo and ensure that all other kidnapped victims in the country are rescued and returned to their families.
He said he had spoken to some of the victims’ relations and was assured that the freed victims were on their way and shall soon join their families.
He said Azurfa, the lady that one of the terrorist leaders had threatened to marry in the forest, was on her way home yesterday evening as her brother had confirmed that she was released.