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50-year-olds detained 100 days after train attack in Nigeria

ABUJA, Nigeria – At least five children are among 50 people still being held by gunmen who attacked a passenger train near the Nigerian capital, their families said on Wednesday as they staged a protest demanding more action from from the authorities to save the hostages.

As families protested the 100 days their loved ones were held captive after the attack in northwestern Kaduna state, Nigerian police have dismissed claims that ‘not enough’ is being done to save the victims who are among the thousands kidnapped or killed in the past year as the West African nation faces continued gun violence.

In late March, gunmen attacked the train with explosives and gunfire, killing seven people and kidnapping dozens more.

Although no arrests have been made in connection with the attack, police are “still collecting intelligence from locals” to find and rescue the hostages, Kaduna police spokesman Mohammed said on Wednesday. Jalige, to the Associated Press.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which authorities blamed on armed groups that have frequently targeted remote communities in northwestern Nigeria with the help of extremist Islamic rebels.

More than 100 passengers on the train were initially missing, but some were later freed by the kidnappers in undisclosed conditions. In June, the Nigerian presidency said the Abuja train attackers “requested the release of their own children”.

As the families of the hostages demonstrated in Kaduna, demanding the authorities to “work faster and do more”, AbdulFatai Jimoh, president of the families’ union, said they had just one key demand: “We want them (the government) to work faster. on that because the longer our people stay in the bush, the more they are exposed to a lot of danger.

“We want them to expedite the process of negotiating with the kidnappers of our family members so they can get out as soon as possible,” Jimoh told The Associated Press.

He said families were also worried about the health of hostages who would be held in vast areas of forest that often serve as hiding places for armed groups, many of whom have been identified by authorities as former herders caught up in the pastoral conflict. of Nigeria for access to water. and earth.

One of the abducted passengers was shot dead by the kidnappers, he said, while others reportedly fell ill.

Abdulaziz Atta, whose 85-year-old mother and sister are among the captives, said he couldn’t stop thinking about them.

“Just imagine what they went through in the bush and you have heavy rain everywhere,” he said. “Imagine an old woman over there; at that age you need medicine, you need care, always wear the same clothes, think about the bush, it’s in the bush so they are exposed to reptiles,” he added.

Atta’s sister, Adama Lawal Aliyu, who celebrated her 52nd birthday on Tuesday, has four children at home. “I don’t want to remember the birthday; it just makes me sad,” he said.


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