- Thousands Stranded As FG Halts Train Service Between Two Cities
- ISWAP/Boko Haram responsible for train attack — Security Source Claims
- NRC Speaks On Deadly Bombing
Thousands of travelers billed to travel between Abuja and Kaduna were left stranded on Thursday and early Friday as the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) suspended train service between the two key transit cities in Northern Nigeria following the terror activities of bandits, now revealed to be terrorists who bombed the Abuja-Kaduna railway track.
The development, The New Diplomat gathered caused technical damages to the train that departed Kaduna for Abuja Thursday morning after the Wednesday’s bombing of the track.
According to sources, the incident was prevented Wednesday night by security forces as a train which departed Abuja 6:40 pm Wednesday arrived in Kaduna around 2:00 am on Thursday.
The Wednesday’s evening train was expected to arrive Kaduna 8:40pm, but because it took the security operatives several hours to clear the rail track of danger, the train spent over eight hours on a supposed two-hour journey.
“This incident came few weeks after an allegedly leaked memo on report of Boko Haram terrorists fleeing from Sambisa forest to Rijana Forest in the Chikun local government area of Kaduna State”, a concerned source told The New Diplomat.
A top security source disclosed that, security agencies in the state had in the past 72 hours been struggling to prevent attack on the train by terrorists suspected to be members of the ISWAP and Boko Haram groups.
According to the source, “ISWAP and Boko Haram members have entered Kaduna, but the security agencies have been struggling to prevent them from setting up their camp in any part of the state.
“Tuesday till Wednesday morning, we could not sleep because we were struggling to dislodge the terrorists who were trying to bomb a bridge used by the Kaduna-Abuja train,” the source said.
Confirming the Thursday incident, Shehu Sani, a former Kaduna Central Senator, explained how he and other passengers narrowly escaped death onboard a Kaduna-Abuja train.
He disclosed that the train he boarded ran over a portion damaged by explosives used in attacking a Kaduna-Abuja train on Wednesday.
In a tweet, the former lawmaker allegedly said: “Yesterday, terrorists attacked the Kaduna-Abuja railway with an explosive and opened fire on the train, targeting the engine driver and the tank.”
Inquisitive journalists who visited the Rigasa Train station in Kaduna, observed that the sale of tickets had been stopped.
Passengers who came to the train station on Thursday morning to board the 10:35am train to Abuja were stranded as a 7:00am train that was supposed to arrive Kaduna by 9:00am and return passengers to Abuja by 10:35am, could not make the trip to Kaduna.
Consequently, many of the passengers were forced to return home with their luggages, while those among them who felt the urgent need to visit Abuja decided to travel by road.
A Kaduna resident Umar Kabeer, one of those who chosed to travel by road to Abuja said “Since all this is happening, I can’t postpone my journey. I had no choice than to go by road. May God protect us all from evil”.
When contacted to confirm if anyone has been arrested in connection with the incident, the Kaduna Police PPRO, ASP Mohammad Jalige said: “I will get back to you.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has suspended indefinitely train services along the Abuja-Kaduna route.
In a statement signed by the management, the corporation apologised to passengers for inconveniences the suspension might have cause them, adding that measures were in place to resume the services very soon.
“The board and management of the NRC hereby inform the general public, particularly our valued passengers on Abuja-Kaduna Train Service that there was explosion on the rail track.
“This affected the fuel tank of the locomotive on Abuja to Kaduna last train (AK10) on Oct. 20.
“However, the situation has been brought under control by a relief locomotive that towed the train to Rigasa Station, Kaduna State.
“The affected locomotive has been sent to the workshop for assessment and repairs. We are also pleased to announce that there were no reported casualties or injuries to either the passengers or the train crew.
“The NRC intends to resume train services soonest, after appropriate measures, checks and maintenance are carried out“, the statement said.