Five hostages who were taken on March 28 aboard an Abuja-Kaduna train have been freed by terrorists.
It is however not clear if any money was paid to the terrorists to release their abducted victims.
The security agencies and the Federal Government are yet to confirm the development, but a member of the negotiating team, Tukur Mamu told newsmen that the victims were released on Tuesday.
He gave the names of the five released hostages as Professor Mustapha Umar Imam, who is medical at Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Akibu Lawal, Abubakar Ahmed Rufai Mukthar Shu’aibu and Sidi Aminu Sharif.
Mamu, who said that he played a prominent role in the release of the train victims, stated he has backed out due to threats to his life, personal integrity and lack of support from the Federal Government.
So far, 37 victims have regained their freedom. The number of those still in captivity now stands at 35.
Gunmen had on March 28 blown up the rail track, killing some and abducting scores of passengers, a situation that called for serious concern about the safety of the nation’s trains.
Tuesday’s release is coming a few days after three other victims the abducted Kaduna-bound train was freed by the terrorists.
The victims, who consist of two males and a female, secured their freedom around 11 am on July 25, bringing succour to their respective families.
It was gathered that they were released by the terrorists at a location inside the forest along the Kaduna – Abuja highway. From there, they were picked up by their relatives.
Worried about the situation, the Nigeria Railway Corporation temporarily suspended activities, with President Muhammadu Buhari directing security agencies to rescue the victims.
Just last week, the terrorists released a viral video where they were seen flogging their hostages. They also threatened to abduct President Buhari and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
The presidency reacted to the threat hours after, accusing the insurgents of using propaganda to compel the government to yield to their demands.
In a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said security forces are not helpless in stemming the tide of insecurity confronting the country.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Shehu said President Muhammadu Buhari has been supporting security agencies by boosting their morale and providing the needed equipment.