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Terrorists Release Hostage Video of Train Abductees

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A group of unidentified Nigerian terrorists released a video on Monday appearing to show hostages abducted from a passenger train attacked by the terror group on March 28, Africnews reported.

The roughly two-minute video began circulating on social media platforms on April 11. The footage shows “20 people [sat] in a forested area. One of the hostages appears to be from Southeast Asia and another appears to be white,” Africanews detailed.

“Behind the captives are men standing in a line who appear to be holding arms,” according to the news outlet.

“We are the passengers who left Abuja for Kaduna on Monday 28 March 2022. We were kidnapped on the way,” a man says in the video clip.

“There are women and children, old people with health problems,” he adds.

Nigeria’s This Day newspaper reported on April 11 that “over 30 victims were seen pleading with the federal government to meet the demands of their abductors” in the hostage video released earlier that day.

Africanews, together with Agence France-Presse (AFP), reviewed the video clip on Monday. The duo noted they were unable to “independently verify the authenticity” of the footage at press time.

The video’s release on April 11 marked the second time the terror group has issued a video of its abductees since it derailed a passenger train traveling from Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory of Abuja to the city of Kaduna on March 28 and kidnapped an unknown number of its riders. The terror group released its first hostage video on April 6.

“In the [April 6] footage, Alwan Ali-Hassan, a bank manager in Nigeria is surrounded by four masked gunmen in military uniform,” Africanews detailed at the time.

According to the media outlet, Ali-Hassan in the video called on Nigerian government authorities “to meet the demands of his captors to secure the release of other hostages who ‘are in a desperate situation.’”

Ali-Hassan appeared in both the April 6 and April 11 videos released by the terror outfit. Nigeria’s Premium Times online newspaper reported on April 11 that the April 6 video “was shot before the release of … Alwan Hassan, by the gunmen.”

Relatives of Ali-Hassan on April 7 confirmed to media outlets Ali-Hassan’s appearance in the April 6 video. They further told AFP Ali-Hassan was released by his captors on April 6 after members of his family complied with the terrorists’ demand for a ransom.

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The March 28 terror attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train killed at least eight people. Armed men carried out the ambush by detonating explosives affixed to the train’s tracks as it passed through a targeted zone. The blast derailed the locomotive and allowed the gunmen to storm some of its carriages. The terrorists reportedly shot at either side of most train cars and specifically targeted the train’s VIP carriage for abductions.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari acknowledged the kidnappings on March 29 but did not disclose how many people were taken from the train. The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), which operated the train in question, said on April 3 its manifest showed 362 passengers on board the locomotive at the time of its March 28 derailment.

“Many Nigerians, however, believe the [passenger] figures are much higher due to the fraud and manipulations that go on at the train stations,” the Premium Times observed on April 4. The NRC is state-owned and managed.

The NRC said it had “confirmed the safety of 14 more passengers on board the train, bringing the total number of safe passengers to 186” as of April 3.

“Of the remaining 176 passengers, eight have been confirmed dead, while the families of 22 passengers have formally declared them missing. This indicates that a total of 168 passengers have yet to be accounted for, including the 22 declared missing by their families,” the Premium Times reported at the time.

“It is not yet clear if all the 168 were kidnapped by the attackers or have just not been accounted for one week after the incident,” the online newspaper noted.

The Abuja-Kaduna train bombing on March 28 was one of three terror incidents that took place across Nigeria from March 26 to March 28. Unidentified gunmen attacked Kaduna’s airport on March 26, killing one perimeter security guard at the site and injuring several others. Another group of unidentified militants on March 27 raided a Christian village in Niger state’s Munya region. The assailants stormed the communities and abducted a local priest.

Nigeria’s insecurity is long-established, though it has appeared to worsen in recent months. The nation’s regular terror attacks and mass abductions have traditionally been tied to Boko Haram, a jihadist terror group founded in northeastern Nigeria in 2009. Boko Haram has expanded its reach beyond Nigeria’s northeast over the past two years. Reports in April 2021 suggested the group was operating nearer to Abuja, Nigeria’s centrally-located national capital.


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