CDS Committee and Rescue of Kaduna Train Captives
By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi
Across the length and breadth of the country, it was heartfelt relief when the scintillating news broke that the federal government finally secured the release and took custody of the remaining 23 abducted passengers of a Kaduna-bound train, after spending over six months in captivity.
Recall how terrorists on March 28, 2022 attacked an Abuja-Kaduna train killing some passengers and equally abducting scores in the process.
That cheering news of the 23 hitherto held captive was broken by Prof. Usman Yusuf, Secretary, Chief of Defence Staff Action Committee (CDSAC).
It was learnt that, as part of the Nigerian Military strategic effort to ensure the safe release of the remaining captives, the Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, General Lucky Irabor, had set up the committee with a mandate to look critically into the situation.
Expectedly, the committee lived up to its expectations by executing their job perfectly.
Yusuf in a statement, had said: “I am pleased to announce to the nation and the world that at 1600Hrs (4:00pm) today, Wednesday, 5-10-2022, the seven-man Presidential Committee assembled by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General L.E.O. Irabor, secured the release and took custody of all the 23 remaining passengers held hostage by Boko Haram terrorists following the attack on the Abuja to Kaduna train on 28-3-2022.
While commending the efforts of General Irabor in the success of their assignment, Prof. Yusuf noted that; “The nation owes a debt of gratitude to the Nigerian military under the leadership of the CDS, who conceived and guided the operation from start to finish. All sister security agencies and the Federal Ministry of Transportation contributed immensely to this operation.”
Nevertheless, arguments and counter arguments have continued to trail regarding the tactics employed by this constituted Presidential Committee in securing the freedom of the remaining captives.
Because, it can be remembered how these kidnap victims were earlier being released in batches by their captors upon payment of huge amounts of ransom. Report had it that, over N4billion was raked in by the terrorists as ransom payment for the abducted train passengers who were earlier set free for N100million per individual.
On its part, the federal government through the Minister of Transportation, Muazu Jaji Sambo dismissed the insinuation, saying that not even a single Kobo was paid for the release of the passengers.
According to the Minister, “The released passengers have already been reunited with their families after proper medical examination, the target of the government was to get them out safely and no ransom was paid for any of them”, he said.
Still, there is another speculation that the federal government swapped the release of the remaining 23 abducted Abuja-Kaduna train passengers with 101 Boko Haram inmates at the Kirikiri Maximum prison in Lagos, a report that has also been debunked outrightly by the government itself.
However, it is imperative to note that, the military ought to be commended for achieving this feat, irrespective of the nature of the clandestine operation employed by the government. Because, the life and safety of the captives is more precious than anything else.
While responding to these unfounded rumours, the Defense Headquarter, through the Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Musa Danmadami and the Director of Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor, disclosed that there was a lot of secrecy involved in the operation because of the high powered committee members involved.
Fielding questions about how the security agents secured the release of the victims and what happened to the terrorists, Major General Danmadami said, “The most important thing is that those people (victims) had been held captive for about six months and have been rescued. It was part of the non-kinetic operation of the military. Giving details may subject their families to fresh trauma. So for now, we will wait for the appropriate time for the details to come out.”
On his part, Major General Akpor said, “Operations such as this, involve elements of national power. These elements could be social, could be developmental. These elements can be deployed to achieve national objectives. There was a lot of secrecy in the operation to achieve the objective. As to what happened to the terrorists, that will be made known later. But it is a given that anybody that committed such a criminal offence against the nation will definitely, will be fished out and made to face the consequences of that act.”
Nevertheless, as the government continues to mull the resumption of train service along Abuja-Kaduna, all necessary measures should be put in place in order to avert the recurrence of such tragic incident.
Security measures should be beefed up along the route by mounting surveillance equipment including drones in order to provide early warning signals.
Also, the government should not relent in its efforts in bringing the perpetrators of this cruel act to face the kind of justice they deserve. This will surely restore people’s confidence and serve as deterrence to others.
Mukhtar is a Staff Writer with the Emergency Digest
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Report By: PRNigeria.com