Nigeria arrests alleged mastermind of Abuja-Kaduna train attack

2024-05-03 20:04:25

Nigeria Sun

Abuja, Nigeria - Nigerian authorities said Thursday they have arrested the mastermind of a 2022 terrorist attack on a moving train that killed 10 passengers.

Police arrested Ibrahim Abdulahi, who is also known as "Mande," during a raid in January at the Abuja-Kaduna road flyover near Rido junction, Police Force public relations officer Olumuyiwa Adejobi told journalists.

'The suspect confessed to being the leader of the kidnap syndicate terrorizing Abuja-Kaduna highway,' Adejobi said.

Police had received a tip-off about Abdulahi's whereabouts, Adejobi said, adding that Mande admitted to participating in several deadly attacks on citizens, including the kidnapping of 20 Greenfield University students in Kaduna in 2021 and the 2022 attack on the train.

On March 28 of that year, armed terrorists bombed the passenger train traveling from Abuja to Kaduna and opened fire on passengers. Ten people were killed, and the attackers abducted at least 61 passengers. The abductees were freed many months later.

The attack sparked fear and widespread criticism of the government. Authorities shut down the train service for nine months and, when they reopened it, provided improved security and escorts on each trip.

Security analyst Senator Iroegbu praised the arrest but said authorities must be more proactive.

'What actually Nigerians want is to be sure that never [happens] again," Iroegbu said "They [shouldn't] wait till people get kidnapped before they start taking actions, whether militarily or through ransom payments. Nigerians want the kidnappings to end."

Insecurity is one of the major problems standing in the way of prosperity in Africa's most-populous country.

In the past year, gangs have kidnapped more than 4,700 people, according to security consulting firm SBM Intelligence.

Last month, Nigeria's president said the country would no longer pay ransom to armed gangs to free hostages and pledged that gangs will face the full force of security agencies. Many victims and relatives of those in captivity are hoping the decision does not ruin their chances of rescuing their loved ones.

2024-05-03 News