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HomeTop NewsAbuja-Kaduna train resumes 8-month after terrorists attack, abduction of passengers

Abuja-Kaduna train resumes 8-month after terrorists attack, abduction of passengers

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Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on Monday resumed a popular train service between the capital Abuja and the northern state of Kaduna, suspended since in March after gunmen killed passengers and kidnapped several dozen.

Africa’s most populous nation is battling insecurity in the north from armed gangs who attack villages and highways and kidnap people for ransom, and a long-running insurgency that has killed thousands and displaced millions more.

The Nigerian military in October secured the release of the remaining 23 hostages from the train attack. President Muhammadu Buhari’s government had said the train service would only start once all hostages were freed.

Passengers were few – only occupying one-third of the train’s capacity – but excited that the service was back after eight months.

“I was just waiting for the commencement of this train service again, so I was so happy to be here today.

“We are starting afresh and I pray we will not have a re-occurrence of that ugly incidence by God’s grace,” said Ganiyat Adesina-Uthman, a lecturer who was traveling to Kaduna for the first time since March.

She had arrived early at the station to beat the gridlock on the road.

“Just like 30 minutes after my arrival, we saw a team of military men with two armoured tanks and other vehicles – about five of them parading all these places,” she added.

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“This is what I’m actually expecting the federal government to do.”

She said moving between Abuja and Kaduna had been “very stressful for people and for myself, I have to even stop going to Kaduna for the last eight months.”

Police said they had deployed personnel and equipment to protect the passengers and secure the tracks.

The Nigerian Railway Corporation – operators of the train – had planned to restart the Abuja-Kaduna service much earlier, but the families of the hostages insisted on their release first.

They were also concerned about the safety of passengers on the route.

The Abuja highway has been repeatedly attacked by gunmen who kidnap passengers, forcing travelers to opt for the train.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who steps down after a February election, sees the development of the railway as key to his infrastructure programmes.

The Kaduna train attack was one of several major incidents this year underscoring the challenge facing Nigeria’s overstretched security forces.

Passengers were required to provide national identification numbers, while armed security were on board the train.

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