Relatives and friends of the abducted passengers of the ill-fated Abuja-Kaduna AK-9 train have vowed to take over streets and occupy key government facilities in Abuja and Kaduna in protest to demand the rescue of their loved ones still in the kidnappers’ den for 94 days and counting.
They said the protest would start on Tuesday to coincide with the 100 days when the bandits attacked and subsequently took away 63 of their loved ones.
The PUNCH had reported that the bandits released 11 out of the 61 victims of the abducted train passengers on Saturday, June 11, after almost three months in captivity, with 50 hostages still yet to be released.
Of the 50 remaining hostages, one of the victims, Mohammed Al’Amin, was shot on Monday by the bandits, eliciting public outcry for the Federal Government to hasten negotiations for the release of hostages.
While addressing journalists in Kaduna on Thursday, the families said they were worried that their loved ones are still languishing in the forest, considering reports of snake bites and the gunshot injury the captives had suffered.
Speaking on behalf of the families, Dr Abdulaziz Atta, whose 85-year-old mother and elder sister were among the victims, said members of victims’ families would be staging a sit-down and occupy protest at public facilities until their loved ones are rescued.
“We read from the media report that one of our loved ones, Al-Amin was shot and that it was an accidental discharge by one of the non-state actors guarding our loved ones. But the key question now is what is the state of health of the person that has gunshot wounds?
“There are no antibiotics and nobody to remove the bullets from his body. Just imagine the current situation he will be in the bush. He needs urgent support. If he is not brought out of the bush, we may lose him.
“To be fair, we are seeing some of the outcomes of the government’s efforts. We have seen 11 of our loved ones that have been released. And from the press statement that was released by Garba Shehu (the President’s spokesman), on behalf of the President, he made it clear that their children were released to them for us to have our loved ones.
“We heard it from the highest authority. We know that the government is working on it. They are working on it but what we are demanding is that they should hasten their release. Every single moment they spend in the bush is dangerous.
“The agents of government that are involved in this negotiation need to do more. What we want simply is that; we want our loved ones out. We have kids as you have heard earlier on as young as three years old, and from the feedback we had, these kids are unattended to. We have injured women, we have aged women and men; those people should be brought out
“By next week Tuesday, which is going to be 100 days that they have been in captive, we are planning to do a physical protest. We will be sitting in key government facilities. We planned to sit there till our loved ones are out. So, we are changing our strategies. We will change our strategy from the media press conference. The media have been excellent to us but now we are going to move out physically for people to see us on the streets.”
Another female family member, Hajiya Fatima Ciroma, described the 94 days the hostages had spent so far as horrifying.
“The emotional, psychological, mental, and physical torture arising from these conditions can only be imagined,” she added.
She also urged the Federal Government to prioritise the security of the lives and property of Nigerians.