The federal government has opened channels of discussion with the terrorists who abducted over 60 passengers of the Abuja-Kaduna train almost three weeks ago, relatives of the abducted passengers have told Daily Trust Saturday.
At least, nine people were killed and over 60 abducted when terrorists planted explosives along the Abuja-Kaduna corridor of the Nigeria railway service to derail the train. The terrorists had spread the train coaches with bullets before abducting dozens on the evening of March 28.
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However, nine days after the attack, the terrorists released the Managing Director of Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan after an alleged N100million ransom payment.
Speaking with journalists in Kaduna, some relatives and friends of the abducted passengers said they had been assured by the federal government that the channels of discussions with the terrorists had been opened.
“After the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, we heard from the federal government, through the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, that government was in dialogue. That government is already discussing with the abductors of our relatives,” said Dr Jimoh Fatai, who has been designated as chairman of the group pressing for the release of their loved ones.
“We are happy about it. We note and acknowledge it and appreciate the efforts of the government in that regard. What we are now appealing for is that government should speed up the process,” he said.
Daily Trust Saturday reports that the news comes at the expiration of a 72-hour ultimatum issued by the relatives to the Nigerian government to open discussions that would see to the release of the captives.
Dr Fatai said that since the initial contact, the terrorists was yet to contact them on the condition of their loved ones, even as they expressed concern that the captives would be going through untold hardship during the rainy season.
The group admonished the Nigeria Railway Corporation against any attempt to resume the Abuja-Kaduna train service, stressing that priority should be on the safety and release of those in captivity.