There was an outrage on Sunday over the brutal whipping of some of the 43 passengers abducted from the Kaduna-Abuja train by their captors.
No fewer than eight persons were killed and 61 others kidnapped during the attack at Katari, Kaduna, on March 28.
In a viral video posted on social media, the hoodlums were seen flogging the male victims who wailed in pain as their female counterparts watched helplessly in horror and fear.
The 10 minutes, 51 seconds video which was captured on a mobile phone showed a leader of the abducted passengers soliciting the assistance of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and other members of the international community.
The video generated widespread anger from the victims’ families and Nigerians who berated the Federal Government over its failure to rescue the hostages who had been in captivity for about four months.
The terrorists, who were demanding a N100m ransom for each of the 43 abductees, were said to have been annoyed by the delayed payment of the ransom.
As part of their demands, the militants had requested the release of 15 terrorist commanders, including their children detained by the military and an undisclosed amount of cash.
The Managing Director of the Bank of the Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, was the first to be released after reportedly paying a N100m ransom on April 7.
On June 12, the terrorists released 11 hostages after 75 days in captivity, through the assistance of the Publisher of Kaduna-based Desert Herald newspaper, Mallam Tukur Mamu, who has been negotiating with the militants.
Another seven regained their freedom on July 9, few days after the Islamic State West Africa Province attacked the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre, Abuja, and freed the masterminds of the train attack, including 64 terrorist commanders in custody.
One of the terrorists in the video vowed to abduct the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru El-Rufai, senators and other prominent Nigerians, including Senators and governors and destabilise the country if their demands were not met.
The terrorists also threatened to kill and sell off some of the abductees as slaves.
He said, “This is our message to the government of Nigeria and just as you have seen these people here, by God’s grace, you will see your leaders; your senators and governors will come before us. These ones you are seeing here, we will keep some as our slaves and sell them off just as our Imam told you in the past.
“Just like the Chibok girls that were sold off, we will equally sell these ones as slaves. If you don’t adhere to our demands, we will kill the ones we need to kill and sell the remaining. By God’s grace, El-Rufai, Buhari, we will bring you here.”
Kuje escapee boasts
One of the terrorists was also seen celebrating his escape during the attack on the Medium Security Prison, Kuje, Abuja. “Government should know, I am part of those who escaped from Kuje. They said they would exchange me for these (train passengers), but look at me, God brought me out safely. I am holding a gun again. We would destroy this land completely. If you want to become a Muslim, come and become a Muslim now’ he stated in Hausa.
Speaking while the beating was going on, the abductees’ leader who was not identified, stated, “We are part of those who were kidnapped from the Kaduna-bound train. Our family members were supposed to come for us but the Nigerian government hindered them from coming to receive us.
“This is why we are calling on the international community and greater countries such as England, America, France and Saudi Arabia to intervene to ensure that we receive our freedom because these terrorists, they don’t intend to keep us here for up to a week. Pay them the ransom they have demanded and let them set us free. But the Nigerian Government botched this matter and showed that it was not concerned.
“Because of this we are once again calling on the bigger countries of the world such as Saudi Arabia, England and France and the rest of the international community, ECOWAS, AU to help us ensure we return to our families.”
A family member, whose younger brother was among those flogged in the video, Hassan Mohammed, said her mother collapsed after seeing the video of her son being flogged mercilessly by the terrorists.
According to him, the video has devastated him and his family.