The Presidency has stated reasons why locations of terrorists cannot be bombed by the military, saying due consideration must be given to hostages in captivity of the criminals.
Reacting to the threat by the terrorists to kidnap President Muhammadu Buhari, the Presidency in a statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, observed that the use of propaganda and violence by terrorists is not new.
It maintained that the Nigerian security forces are neither clueless nor helpless but just cannot display their strategies to deal with the threats in public.
“Terrorist activity using propaganda and the use of violence to force governments to accept or submit to political demands is not new all over world. The country’s security and defense forces are not clueless or helpless. They have their plans and ways of doing things which they will not display in the media.
“The dilemmas in dealing with the specific case of train terrorists are manifold: punitive action like the popular call for carpet bombing of the known locations may assuage the desire of an angry public for revenge, but what about the hostages? They have committed no offense. All they did was to board a train.
“It suffices to say that the security forces are not relenting. They are acutely aware of their duties, responsibilities and what the nation expects of them. Whenever they embark upon those actions, they expect that the public should provide them with the needed support. Terrorism is a global scourge that must be fought by all actors- the military, the civilian population and the communication service providers. This is the only way safe havens of terrorists are eliminated in every part of the world,” the statement read.
Earlier, the terrorists, who kidnapped the passengers of Kaduna-Abuja train, had vowed to abduct President Buhari and governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai if their demands are not met soon.
The terrorists, suspected to be members of Ansaru Islamic sect, also threatened to kill and sell off some of the remaining Kaduna train passengers in their captivity, saying they will abduct other prominent Nigerians and cause more mayhem in the country.
A new video the group released on Sunday morning, which is trending on social media platforms, saw the terrorists flogging the remaining male passengers of the train, while the female passengers were asked to line in front of the male passengers after they were flogged.
The two minutes, 50 seconds video saw a bearded passenger who was asked to speak on their behalf who said the terrorists told them that they did not plan to hold them hostage for more than a week, but for the nonchalant attitude of the Federal Government.
He therefore called on the international community and the United Nations (UN) to come to their aid since the Federal Government had failed to ensure their freedom. Also, at the background, an elderly woman around the age between 85 and 90 was heard cursing the Federal Government in the Hausa, saying, “Allah ya isa” (meaning. “We leave you with God). She lamented that they voted the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari with the hope that the North and the country would be secure, but their hope had been dashed.
Also, speaking in the video, one of the terrorists boasted that they would kidnap President Buhari, Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai and other prominent Nigerians, saying they are going to destabilise the country soon if their demands are not met.
“This is our message to the government of Nigeria and just as you have seen these people here, by God’s grace, you will see your leaders; your senators and governors will come before us. These ones you are seeing here we will keep some as our slaves and sell them off just as our Imam told you in the past.”
“Just like the Chibok girls that were sold off, we will equally sell these ones as slaves. If you don’t adhere to our demands, we will kill the ones we need to kill and sell the remaining. By God’s grace, El-Rufai, Buhari, we will bring you here,” the terrorist boasted.