The Aftermath of Kaduna-Abuja Train Kidnapping

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By Samira Usman

Today, March 28, 2023, marks one year to the day since bandits attacked the train traveling between Abuja and Kaduna. Following the attack, at least eight passengers were reported dead in the incident, and 168 more were either kidnapped or went missing.

One of the abductees, Dr. Mustapha Umar Imam, described the traumatizing nature of the experience to our reporter.: “The experience is still fresh in my memory. It was just a 10-minute ride for us to get to Rigasa Train Station when we started hearing gunshots that lasted for about 15 minutes. We were escorted out of the train by the terrorist, where we were taken to the bandit’s camp.”

Making his point clear, he stated that “I always try as much as possible to forget what happened, but I find it difficult to always accept sharing my experience with others. I wouldn’t wish the same experience on anyone, not even my enemy.”

“This is something that drains you not only physically but also emotionally and mentally.” “I am still battling with my mental health up until this moment.”

Imam told TCR, “I tried to convince myself I didn’t need therapy, but as time went on, I realized I wouldn’t be able to handle my mental state.” 

“These people that abducted us were master manipulators; these were people who were experts in spreading lies. At one point, they even told us none of our relatives were interested in getting us released. So many of us were actually very shocked when we came back home and saw that these were the relatives that couldn’t sleep nor eat because of our situation.”

He then recounted the incident in which they conversed with some of these bandits.: “most of the bandits were actually people that joined from the streets; most of them were jobless, illiterate, and naive; most of them were almajiris or out-of-school children.”

Nevertheless, he finally addressed the issue of the bandits feeling left out. “What they feel they need to understand is that we are all in this together.”

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