More than 160 people aboard a train ambushed in Kaduna, Nigeria, last month are still missing or unaccounted for, as evidence of suspected collaboration between Boko Haram extremists and local bandits emerge.
In the weeks since the attack on March 28, when terrorists blasted the rail tracks, derailing the train before killing down passengers and train employees and abducting scores of others, ten people have been killed and two have been abducted.
The railway service’s operator, the Nigerian Railway Corporation, stated earlier this month that 168 persons were missing, including over 140 passengers who it had been unable to contact through registered contacts. At least one individual has been released after paying a ransom. Two of the victims’ relatives indicated their families were unaware of any other captives released by the assailants.
The attack was one of numerous by armed groups targeting important transportation lines and populations in northern Nigeria in recent years, and it was the most significant since the train line between Abuja and a major northern city began operating in 2016.
Local government officials claim that Boko Haram or Iswap-affiliated terror groups are in control of rural communities as far south as Niger state, which borders Abuja.
Last week, Nigeria’s communications and culture minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the situation as , “is a kind of an unholy handshake between bandits and Boko Haram insurgents”.
“Preliminary reports of what transpired at the Kaduna train attacks showed that there is a kind of collaboration between the bandits and the dislodged Boko Haram terrorists from the northeast. I can tell you very confidently that the federal government is on top of this matter,” he said.