FG promises to rescue remaining abducted train passengers

President Muhammadu Buhari –
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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday, promised that the military will not stop or reduce its efforts to rescue the remaining 31 abductees of the March 28 train attack, through non-combative means.

Buhari emphasised that his primary concern is to get everyone released “safe and unhurt.”

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said this when he met with representatives of families of the abducted persons in Abuja.

The President assured the representatives that the Federal Government is doing everything within its powers to ensure the safe return of the remaining captives.

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He however, explained that the government will not employ lethal force in freeing the remaining hostages.

He said, “I have been informed that at last count, there remain about 31 people in the hands of the kidnappers, and our determination is to work towards returning these 31 people to their families.

“It is understandable that emotions typically run high, we have received several suggestions about the deployment of lethal military force in extracting those still being held in captivity.

“This option has indeed been considered and evaluated. However, the condition to guarantee a successful outcome and minimise potential collateral damage could not be assured and therefore that course of action had to be reluctantly discarded.

“My primary concern is to get everyone released safe and unhurt.”

On his recent instruction to security and law enforcement agencies to end the inhumane action against innocent Nigerians, the President expressed delight, saying, “Judging by the available reports to me and news that have begun emerging in the last few days, I will say they have heard this instruction and are responding appropriately.”

He insisted that fight must be taken to the terrorists and that “each one of them will be hunted, and pursued and spoken to in the language that they understand.”

The Minister of Transportation, Jaji Sambo, described the audience with the President as proof of the efforts by the regime to secure the release of all captives, and a sign that “government is not resting on its oars.”

Families’ self-help

Meanwhile, The PUNCH learnt that some families are already selling off their valuables to pay the ransom demanded by the terrorists.

The terrorists placed N100m ransom each on the 61 train victims being held hostage.

Speaking with The PUNCH, Ibrahim Ahmed, whose sister is still in custody, said the families of those still in captivity were finding it difficult to pay the N100m ransom.

Ahmed said, “We are begging them (terrorists) to temper justice with mercy and consider those of us whose loved ones are still with them.

“In my family, we have sold all we had, yet we have been unable to raise N10m. We are hovering around N4.5m as I speak to you. We really want my sister out of captivity but we can’t help the situation. This is not just about us alone. There are others who are even worse off.”

Another family member, who did not want his name in print for security reason, said they were planning to meet with Gumi to help appeal to the terrorists to reduce the ransom.

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