Kaduna train bombing: Fears heighten; hopes of rescuing abducted ‘VIPs’ dim

The probability of find ing and rescuing some or all of the top government officials and businessmen who were deliberately fished out and taken captive by terrorists who bombed the Abuja-Kaduna-bound passenger train on Monday night, appears to have dimmed more than five days after the tragic incident.

The bandits, Saturday Vanguard learnt, are reported to have carefully identified top government officials and high caliber businessmen, who they consider of high ransom value before taking them away after bombing the train and killing some of the passengers in the process of gaining access to the coaches to reach their targets.

A competent official, who is conversant with the situation, told our correspondent that the undue delay in searching for and rescuing the captives within the first 48 hours of their abduction, might have lowered the probability of finding them in good state and rescuing them.

The top official, who has knowledge in military operations, noted with concern the lethargy in the military circles to confront the bandits before the attack and after it has been made plain that the train was bombed by terrorists and that their locations were not hidden.

The top official said: “With the undue delay in locating and rescuing the victims, especially, those with high net worth, which the terrorists consider as having high ransom value, it is possible that the abductees had been relocated and shared to the various camps commanded by dreaded terrorist commanders in the thick forests across the North Central areas.

“This development is more dangerous and may make it even more difficult to locate the kidnapped victims and rescue them and could raise the amount to be paid as ransom to their captors.

“We do not know why no action has been taken by the military authorities to challenge the bandits and get the victims out before they are taken to more dangerous locations as we saw in the Dabchi in Yobe State and Chibok in Borno State when terrorists invaded schools in the two states in 2014 and made away with hundreds of children.

“Nobody knows what has hampered the military from dealing a fatal blow to the terrorists despite many deadly attacks in many states in the north in recent times,” the official pondered.

Saturday Vanguard learnt that the undue delay by the military to confront the terrorists in many parts of Kaduna despite intelligence reports indicating their locations and population is causing serious apprehension concern in the country with some top APC members fearing that the action might affect their chances of winning the presidential elections next year.

Besides, the action, according to a military strategist, has the potential to also rubbish whoever might emerge as president from the president’s party next year.

“Let it be known that the current level of military lethargy coupled with the politicization of insecurity, which has emboldened terrorists or bandits   to attack public transportation system, which is new in this country, is nothing   more than an attempt to rubbish the system and stifle its hands,” the strategist said.

With the bombing of the passenger train on Monday, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has spoken out against the military for not taking decisive actions to deal with identified terrorists and their camps in the state.

While receiving the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi , in Kaduna during a visit to commiserate with the victims of the attack, the governor pointed out that it was painful that after confirmed intelligence reports indicating the locations and camps of terrorists, the military has still not accepted to bomb the malevolent elements, thereby emboldening them to attack.

The governor said,  “We have enough intelligence for us to take action. The Air Force undertakes enough ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance); and the DSS has informants all over the place.

“We know what they (terrorists) are planning. We get the reports. The problem is for the agencies to take action. Don’t wait until they attack before you respond. The Army should go after their enclaves to wipe them out. Let the Air Force bomb them.

“Before, they were categorised as bandits and if you bombed them, you would have issues with human rights organisations and international criminal courts and so on. But, now that they have been declared terrorists by the court, they can be legally killed without any consequences from international human rights organisations.”

It will be recalled that terrorists  on Monday night bombed a Kaduna-bound passenger train from Abuja, killing nine persons, taking away many yet to be accounted for and damaged the tracks and coaches of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

The NRC is yet to release the manifest of the passengers on the ill-fated train.

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Simon Ekpa

Simon Ekpa LL.M (Master of Laws) is a human rights activist, CEO, senior legal advisor at Ekpa & Co Oy, legal researcher, author, analyst, Finnish politician, Biafra agitator and a Finnish Military reserve.
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