Nigerian president Buhari says train attackers using hostages as shields
Dozens of passengers kidnapped on a high-speed train in northern Nigeria are being used as human shields by their abductors, making their rescue difficult, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday.
Photos of 62 people who are allegedly being held as hostages surfaced on social media last week but it’s not clear when the pictures were taken. Families of those missing said they recognised their relatives in the photographs.
In an address to mark Eid al-Fitr, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, President Buhari said rescuing the hostages was a “delicate situation”.
“They are using civilians as human shield thereby making it difficult to confront them directly… They don’t care about killing their hostages if they come under attack,” he said.
“Any rescue operation that results in the death of any hostage cannot be deemed a success. The government doesn’t want this kind of tragic outcome.”
He said the situation required proper handling with the objective to “free the hostages safely, unharmed and alive”.
Kidnapping for ransom has become commonplace across Nigeria.
This was the second time the railway line between Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, and Kaduna city had been targeted in the last six months, but it’s by far the most serious.