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I’m not ready to pay ransom for victims of bombed train: El-Rufai

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Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, says he is not ready to pay ransom for kidnapped victims of Monday night’s train bombing by terrorists.

Mr El-Rufai reiterated his no-deal stance with bandits while fielding questions from State House correspondents on Friday in Abuja. He had earlier met President Muhammadu Buhari to brief him on security developments in his state.

“As far as the Kaduna state government is concerned, we have not changed our stand on payment of ransom,” Mr El-Rufai maintained, “so, even if they seek for that from us, we will not pay because we are not ready to do so.”

The Kaduna governor noted that though the attackers have contacted families of abductees, they were yet to request for ransom, save for one.

“Well, the families of those kidnapped have been contacted while some of the captives themselves have called their loved ones, saying they are doing well and they are being taken care of. But the gunmen have not shown any sign of collecting ransom,” he said.

Mr El-Rufai emphasised that the gunmen are not kidnappers but members of the Boko Haram terrorists group working in collaboration with bandits.

“These ones are not the usual kidnappers but members of Boko who are collaborating with bandits.

”So we were thinking they would ask for a huge ransom from the state government, not the families of their victims.

”So far, they have asked for ransom from just one of the families that were contacted.”

The governor blamed the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, for not heeding the warning, having been alerted via an intelligence report of a possible attack on the rail line.

“We think this thing happened because we have written twice to the NRC, advising that trains on the Kaduna route should not embark on night trips because we have reports that Boko Haram were in town and they plan to attack the train at night using explosive devices,” he said.

The governor said the president had reassured him that drastic measures were being taken to check the activities of terrorists and bandits in Kaduna state and beyond but tact was needed to first free the kidnapped victims.

“The President assured me that necessary steps would be taken on the matter and this thing will be brought to an end in few months, and security agents are already carrying out surveillance around where these criminals are and, by the grace of God, they will be rounded up.

“But as you know, the government will always take precautionary measures to safeguard the lives of citizens, therefore, except the victims are rescued unhurt, the air force and ground troops will not be able to confront the criminals. So to avoid any colossal damage, the captives have to be freed first,” he said.

Albeit, Mr El-Rufai stressed the need for massive bombing of all bandit-infected enclaves including forest areas in the North-West and North-Central parts of the country.

The Kaduna-bound train, which left Abuja at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, conveying about 1000 passengers, including VIPs, was attacked by suspected terrorists at about 7:45 p.m., just about 15 minutes’ drive before Kaduna.

Eight persons had been officially confirmed dead, 46 hospitalised

and several others kidnapped following the attack.

(NAN)

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