Five Nigeria train attack passengers freed after more than four months in captivity

Five of the people who were kidnapped by bandits in a train attack in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna State were released on Tuesday, some 127 days after the incident.

The five were part of an unknown number of passengers aboard an Abuja-Kaduna train that came under fire on March 28 as it approached the capital of Kaduna State.

Among those who were set free were Professor Mustapha Umar Imam from the Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital in Sokoto, Akibu Lawal, Abubakar Ahmed Rufai, Mukthar Shu’aibu Sidi and Aminu Sharif.

So far, 37 of the original captives taken in the incident have been released.

The latest release comes less than two weeks after an unverifiable video emerged online reportedly showing bandits beating up some of the passengers to push the Nigerian government to act on their demands.

Speaking to journalists after their release, the five freed people narrated harrowing ordeals they went through in captivity.

“In the last four months in the bush there was no food to eat, we were hungry for the last three and half months. When I said hungry, it’s an understatement,” Nigerian outlet, Premium Times quotes Mustapha Imam, a medical doctor.

“There are days that we will eat once a day for certain days. Just imagine, some children are one-year-old, some others 20 months, feeding once a day,” he added.

35 people, including elderly citizens, women and children remain captive. President Buhari has urged his security forces to put more effort into finding them.

The Abuja-Kaduna highway is one of the most dangerous roads in the country and had pushed commuters onto the railway, which opened in 2016.

It has been announced that military aircraft will escort the trains once repair work on the 190km (120-mile) track is completed. It is not known exactly when services will resume.