The government of President Muhammed Buhari is facing a dilemma as the terrorists, who abducted 163 Abuja-Kaduna train passengers on March 28, are demanding the release of their 16 commanders and sponsors in custody in exchange for the victims.
Punch reports that there are indications that negotiations between the government and the terrorists have stalled following the refusal of the government to accede to their demands, leaving the fate of the victims uncertain.
The government is reportedly not ready to release the detained commanders or pay ransom on the abductees.
The terrorists are believed to be keeping over 100 passengers, who were abducted from the train, after it derailed at Katari, Kaduna, after it was bombed.
Eight persons were killed and 26 others injured when gunmen attacked the train and kidnapped the victims.
Recall that the Nigerian Railway Corporation said in a statement that it was unable to establish contact with 163 of the passengers and seven crew members, who boarded the train.
Security sources said the authorities were still negotiating with the terrorists, while exploring other options to rescue the abductees, who were seen in a viral video sitting under a tree at an unknown location, believed to be the bandits’ camp.
A source said, “The Federal Government is looking into their demands because of the hostages, but the government is being cautious; it cannot meet the demands of the terrorists. The last time the government released some commanders, they went back and the insurgency became worse.
“So, nobody is considering releasing the commanders. The terrorists were also given money previously and the situation did not improve.”
Following the lack of progress in the negotiations, the terrorists might start asking the families of the hostages for ransom.
Some of the family members had protested the abduction of their loved ones and also complained that the terrorists had not contacted them since the victims were held captive over two weeks ago.