Commuters on the Kaduna-Abuja train corridor have narrated how they were trapped in a secluded area along the Kaduna-Abuja rail track for over six hours on Wednesday
The incident happened after the 6pm train came to a stand still.
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Daily Trust gathered that the train, which was the last for the day, was eventually dragged to the Rigasa train station around 2am when a new locomotive was transported from Idu train Station in Abuja to rescue stranded commuters.
Former NUJ Chairman in Kaduna, Garba Mohammed, who was on the train, said there was pandemonium as commuters were left at the mercy of few Police officers about 40 klillometers to Rigasa station.
He said all was well when the train took off from Abuja but two sub-station to its final destination at Rigasa, there was a bang and the train gradually halted.
“The lights went off, the AC’s stopped working and we were locked up in the coaches. There was no network, there was no water to drink, people resorted to drinking water from the toilet taps and the toilets became unusable,” he said.
“40 killometers to Kaduna, we heard a loud sound and security agents asked us to take cover. A few minutes later, the security agents were moving around. We had to open the windows because of the heat and we could see the main road from the track where the train had stopped.”
He explained that there had been security reinforcement from the military who four hours later escorted them to Rigasa train station with a new locomotive.
“The new locomotive was slow and what should have been a journey of 30 minutes took almost 2 hours. By the time we got to Rigasa station, there were a lot of people who were in panic and waiting for their loved ones.”
Asked if the train had been attacked by bandits, Mohammed said: “Some people said the train was attacked, but there was no threat to us throughout the period we were stranded, which is about four hours.”
“If someone attacks a train and makes it stop for about four hours, then they have enough time to trace the location of the train and attack it, we were at the mercy of a few security officers before the reinforcement came but we were not attacked,” he said.
Another Commuter, Josephine Isiaku, explained that for four hours that they were stranded in an unknown location, train crew and security agents did not explain the situation to commuters adding that, “we were left to our own fears and speculations.”
Bandits planted explosives on rail track- Shehu Sani
According to former Senator Representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, the Abuja-Kaduna train had been attacked by bandits who planted explosives that damaged the rail track and shattered the windshield of the train engine.
Shehu Sani wrote on his Facebook page that the bandits had opened fire, targeting the driver and the tank. “It happened between Dutse and Rijana stations. The Driver struggled to move towards Kaduna Rigasa station,” he said.
The former legislator who said he boarded the early morning train of Thursday added that the train had run over another explosive that damaged the railings adding that the train nearly skid-off its path but “miraculously escaped.” He called on the government to suspend all Kaduna- Abuja train operations until this issue is addressed.
Security agents are yet to react as to whether bandits had planted explosives on the rail track as Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige did not answer calls to his phone. Daily Trust however reports that a senior security source had recently insinuated that security agents in Kaduna had scuttled an attempt by bandits who tried to plant explosives around certain bridges in the state.