The gunmen who attacked a Kaduna-bound train in March have released one of the passengers they abducted on what they claim was compassionate ground.
Daily Nigerian newspaper is reporting that the woman, whose name was not given, was released because she is pregnant.
She is one of the two pregnant women abducted by the bandits, as the gunmen are referred to locally. The other pregnant woman gave birth to a child in captivity.
The bandits had on March 28 attacked the train around the Katari and Rijana axis of Kaduna. They killed at least nine people, wounded several others and abducted several others.
They later released the Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, after the payment of a ransom. The bandits, however, said he was released on compassionate grounds too.
In two-minute video footage, the released pregnant passenger said the bandits treated them with respect in captivity.
She said they were provided with food and medication.
The freed passenger also confirmed that the other pregnant woman gave birth to a child.
“Peace be on to you all. I’m among the Kaduna train passengers abducted by bandits on the 28 of March. They took us into the bush without stating their reasons but we thank God because they didn’t maltreat us and they fed us well. We conducted our fasting and if you’re sick they give you medication.
“They look at our conditions, especially like me whose continued staying there may pose danger to our health, especially considering my pregnancy has reached an advanced stage that’s why they decided to release me on compassionate ground.
“I call on government to consider the plights of the people (passengers) left in the bush with the bandits. They (government) should sit with them (bandits) and listen to their demands so that they could understand each other even for the sake of those still in captivity so they will be released,” she said.
Although the bandits that attacked the train have not clearly stated what they want, observers including an academic who has studied their activities say they want a prisoner exchange with the government.
A social historian and lecturer at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Murtala Ahmed-Rufai, said the demands are known to the federal government, the Kaduna State Government and security agencies.
He said that based on his investigations, the attack was orchestrated by the duo of Dogo Gide and Ali Kawajo, two notorious bandit leaders believed to have ties with two terror groups: Ansaru and Boko Haram.
“Dogo Gide is known for making demands whenever he abducts people with relations to government. These requests are always the same. He and Kawajo have some commanders that were captured at different times and places by security agents. Even when he abducted the FGC Yauri students, he didn’t demand money but prisoner swap,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.
The federal government has, however, not given in to the demands of the bandits but has repeatedly said it is working to ensure freedom for the captives.
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