A member of the presidential committee that negotiated and secured the release of abducted Abuja-Kaduna train victims from terrorists, Dr. Abdulmalik Atta has shed more light on what transpired before they could achieve success.
According to him, the terrorists were not demanding money initially but it was the now-arrested ‘negotiator’, Tukur Mamu, the aide of Sheikh Ahmad Gumi that influenced the terrorists to make monetary demands because of his own selfish reasons.
Naija News recalls the remaining 23 kidnapped train passengers regained their freedom around 4:00 pm on Wednesday after being in captivity for six months.
Sharing some details of the process that culminated in their release, Atta whose father was also among the victims told Channels Television in an interview that the committee under the leadership of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor made several sacrifices including sleeping in the bush and dialoguing with the terrorists despite the risks.
He however lamented that Mamu attempted to frustrate their efforts towards the rescue of the victims because of his own selfish reasons.
The presidential committee member added that prior to the intervention of the Chief of Defence Staff, families of the victims had paid about $200,000 to the terrorists based on the influence of Mamu who claimed to be a negotiator but was working against their interests.
He said, “Because of Mamu’s introduction of money into the rescue process, the victims’ families had parted with over $200,000 prior to the chief of defence staff’s intervention.
“The Presidential Committee made life-threatening sacrifices, as we had to go into the forest to meet with the terrorists and even slept in the bush.
“It has been six months and one week, but we thank God everything has come to an end now, thanks to the support from the federal government through the office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). We were able to go into the bush and bring back the remaining of our family members.
Mamu Is A Betrayer
Speaking further, the committee member expressed delight that Mamu has been arrested, claiming that the self-acclaimed negotiator attempted to derail the entire process.
“We achieved this not through somebody who betrayed the committee and the government, I am talking about the person of Tukur Mamu who did everything within his reach to thwart the efforts of the government for his own interest. As we all know, he is in the hands of the government now. But we thank God, all our family members are back now.
“The bandits never asked for money ab-initio, Tukur Mamu introduced money into the whole thing and derailed the process and kept everybody for the past six months.
“We parted away with about 200,000 US Dollars. Thank God the CDS took it upon himself and put in place a committee that never asked a kobo. Every sacrifice being done so far has been personal towards ensuring the release of the victims.
Committee Members Deserve National Honours
He said members of the committee that secured the release of the victims deserve to be praised and recognized for their patriotic efforts and sacrifices.
He urged the security agents to find ways of deploying dialogue in dealing with the insecurity plaguing the nation.
“In the committee, I can assure you that I worked with credible people of the highest order. If I have my way, all of them would be given national honours. We risked our lives, went to the bush, we slept there in the bush.
“We heard the complaints of those people (the terrorists), even though we knew what they have done is wrong, but we had to engage them.
“Going forward, our security agencies must synergise their operations and the government should open more room for further engagements,” he said.