The terrorists who attacked an Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28 and adopted over 65 passengers, have reportedly withdrawn an earlier death threat they issued on the victims, while also giving the Federal Government another two weeks ultimatum to meet their demands or they would kill the abductees.
The new stance of the terrorists was made known by a Kaduna-based publisher and media aide to controversial Islamic Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, Tukur Mamu, in a statement on Sunday who said the earlier threat by terrorists to start killing the abducted passengers in their custody if their request was not met within one week had been withdrawn.
In the statement, Mamu said he had reached a truce with the abductors on Saturday night, adding that the terrorists who had earlier threatened to stop feeding the victims as well as to eliminate them, have dropped the earlier threat.
According to Mamu, the terrorists decided to drop the idea after the exact location of their eight children who are currently being held in Adamawa was revealed to them with the promise that they would be released soon.
Mamu added that he had sent the proof of the existence of the children to the leader of the terrorists, Abu Barra, who had earlier contacted him, and that made them to drop the threat but however, gave the Federal Government two weeks to release their children or they would kill the train passengers.
“I can authoritatively confirm that the earlier threat to stop feeding the over 60 abducted passengers of the Abuja-Kaduna bound train and threat to start executing the victims was successfully withdrawn on Saturday afternoon,” Mamu said in the statement.
“This was as a result of ongoing engagement with the ‘Abu Barra’ led abductors. This is a good development, even though for issues that have to do with the safety of the victims, to ensure continuation of engagement with the abductors and to build confidence, we would not elaborate on this latest development which comes less than 48 hours after the release of another threatening video of the kidnapped victims.
“We were able to identify the location of their 8 children with the active support of the security agencies and eventually sent a proof of life and their children existence to the terrorists, a development that has helped to restore confidence.
“As a result of serious and frank engagement, they have agreed to continue to take care of their victims including providing them with medical First Aid services which they said they have been doing.
“Also, they have withdrawn earlier threats to start killing them by Monday. I believe this is a major milestone that was facilitated by Almighty Allah to grant succour not only to the innocent victims but to their loved ones as well.
“I can confirm to you that our security agencies are showing concern and willingness to secure their release in safety. What we earlier released has encouraged them to do more.
“Nigerians should continue to pray and stop politicising this sensitive imbroglio. We must recognize that lives of innocent citizens are involved.
“But it is important to frankly state that they were very much categorical during our conversation on the conditions of withdrawing their earlier threat. They said they will give government the benefit of two weeks effective from Monday 30th May, to see the commitment of releasing their teenage children before any talk that may lead to the release of some of their victims.
“In the absence of any alternative, I urge the government to please do the needful as soon as possible as many of the victims have serious health challenges and you know we are in the rainy season.
“My decision to accept the mediation efforts is purely on humanitarian grounds and as part of the sacrifice and commitment of Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Gumi to contribute to lasting peace and security across the North especially the North West.
“In view of the encouraging development it remains to be seen how government will react to it to ensure the immediate release of the kidnapped victims that have now spent two months in captivity.”
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