Seven more captives – including a family of six – were released on Wednesday by the terrorists who attacked the AK-9 Abuja-Kaduna passenger train 28 March. The seventh freed victim is a woman.
The released family included Abdubakar Idris Garba, his wife, Maryam Abubakar Bobo, and their eldest son, Ibrahim Abubakar Garba, who is 10 years old.
Others are Fatima Abubakar Garba (seven years old), Imran Abubakar Garba (five), and youngest Zainab Abubakar Garba, who is only one-and-half-year old.
A staff of the National Assembly Service Commission, Idris Garba is a son of a former Military Administrator of Kano and Benue States.
Also released is a 60-year-old woman, Hajia Aisha Hassan, who was said to have been set free due to life-threatening health challenges that deteriorated recently.
Although the Publisher of Kaduna-based Desert Herald, Tukur Mamu withdrew as one of the negotiators, he confirmed the release of the seven hostages to journalists in Kaduna.
Mamu, who is also media consultant to a Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi said the seven were released following the intervention of his principal.
Manu said that, throughout their captivity, neither the National Assembly Commission nor the members of the National Assembly intervened for the staff of the commission and his family.
Mamu, however, noted that with Gumi’s efforts and the support of a serving Senator from the North, the family of six regained their freedom.
The statement further reads: “Disturbed by the gory videos images of four teenage children belonging to the same family he saw in the last video released by the attackers of the AK9 Train, Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Gumi, for the first since the abduction of the innocent passengers of that train over four months ago, has reached out to the abductors through his media consultant, sent Allah’s messages to them and consistently pleaded with them to consider the release of the poor children and their innocent parents.
“It was learnt that the health condition of two of the teenage children has deteriorated since the flogging incidence that affected their helpless father. A total of additional seven hostages were therefore released on Wednesday.
“The husband of the four kids is a staff of the National Assembly Commission. There was no intervention from the Commission or NASS on his behalf since the travails began.
“This is to confirm to the world that due to Sheikh Gumi’s efforts and with the support of a serving Senator from the North (a God-fearing personality that doesn’t have any relationship with the hostages) who chose to remain anonymous that all the family of six have regained their freedom on Wednesday morning.
“Sheikh Gumi had also prayed for the immediate release of the remaining victims and urged the government to intensify efforts towards achieving that. He said the delay in releasing the remaining victims is unnecessary and one that is achievable once the right approach has been taken”.
The terrorists had demanded N100 million ransom per victim.
With the release of the fifth batch of seven hostages, 28 victims are still in the custody of the terrorists, having set free 33 hostages.
The terrorists had earlier released 11 victims in the first batch, seven victims in the second, three in the third, five victims in the fourth, and seven hostages released in the fifth.
On 28 March 2022, terrorists planted explosives devices along the rail track. When the Abuja-Kaduna bound AK-9 passenger train approached the point, the device exploded, causing the train to derail, leading to the death of eight passengers.