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Kaduna train attack: Why we’re finding it difficult to rescue captives – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says the use of the captives of the Kaduna train attack as shields by bandits is making rescue operations difficult. He said…

President Muhammadu Buhari says the use of the captives of the Kaduna train attack as shields by bandits is making rescue operations difficult.

He said this while receiving residents of the Federal Capital Territory on Sallah homage at the State House, Abuja.

Terrorists had on March 28 attacked the AK9 Abuja-Kaduna train, killing at least nine people, wounding several others and abducting many others. 

Buhari said the government would explore every opportunity to rescue the captives alive and unhurt.

He directed security agencies and the Nigerian Railway Corporation to provide more regular and detailed information to the victims’ families.

“As we celebrate this occasion with joy amidst friends and family members, we’re fully conscious of the fact that many families in our country are in a state of fear and anxiety on account of the many captives held by terrorists against their will, including those taken away after the tragic bombing of the Abuja – Kaduna train.

“I’ve directed security agencies to ensure quick and safe recovery of all victims of kidnapping. I urge the railway management to immediately set up a situation room for the coordination of the rescue mission and for a minute by minute engagement with the families of the captives.

“This should ease their pain and anxiety as we push the military to finding a safe return to their families. My aim is to see all those in captivity safely rescued.

“Let me assure Nigerians that the bandits are just pushing their luck, but this is only for a while before they’re finally crushed. They’re using civilians as human shields, thereby making it difficult to confront them directly,” he said.

He noted that bandits and terrorists, do not respect the rules of engagement and could resort to harming hostages when attacked.

“They don’t care about killing their hostages if they come under attack. It’s a delicate situation that requires wisdom, caution and also patience. Any rescue operation that results in the death of any hostage cannot be deemed a success.

“The government doesn’t want this kind of tragic outcome. It’s a complex situation that demands proper handling. The primary objective of any rescue operation is to free the hostages safely, unharmed and alive.

“Let me make it clear, however, that defeating the terrorists and bandits requires more than weapons; we also need human intelligence which is necessary to frustrate terrorist plans. The people and community leaders should help our security officials with information about the activities or movements of criminal groups,” he added.

Buhari urged Nigerians to create a hostile environment for criminals hiding in communities.

He said a stronger synergy between security agencies and communities would make a huge difference in defeating banditry and terrorism in the country.

He allayed the fears that bandits would grow to yet another big challenge as faced by the Boko Haram threat, saying his administration would not allow such to happen.

In a related development, Buhari has challenged the heads of military and other security formations in the country to eliminate them.

He spoke Monday after joining other Muslims to observe Eid-el-Fitr prayers at the parade ground, Mambilla Barrack, Abuja.

Buhari, while fielding questions as he returned to the Presidential Villa after the prayers, told them to rise up to their responsibilities.

He expressed the commitment of his administration to working towards making the country safe for Nigerians.

According to him, it is important to make the country safe, especially as the rains had started coming. 

He said farmers must be assured of their safety as they returned to the farms, thereby securing the country’s food production.  

“We’ll continue to make the environment secure, especially when the rainy season is coming, so that farmers can go back to their farms and we wouldn’t have problem of food security. 

“Heads of the services; Army, Navy, Air Force, the Inspector-General of Police and so on are very much aware of the situation. It’s their duties to know where the terrorists are and eliminate them”, he said.

The president, while speaking on the forthcoming general elections, restated the commitment of his administration to free, fair and transparent process.

In his message during the Eid service, the acting Chief Imam of Mambila Barracks, Dahiru Shua Mohammed, stressed the need for genuine repentance from sin by all, love for one another, forgiveness, tolerance and constant prayers to Allah as the weapon against all adversities of life.