KADUNA, Nigeria – Suspected bandits have contacted some Nigerian families to say they are holding relatives who went missing following an attack on a passenger train this week and that they will demand a ransom, the families said on Thursday.
Authorities in the northern Kaduna state said eight people died and 26 were hospitalised when armed gangs blew up train tracks on the Abuja-Kaduna route and kidnapped an unknown number of passengers on Monday night.
Ibrahim Abba told Reuters that unknown men called his family on Tuesday evening, informing them that they were holding his brother, who he said has not been seen since the attack on the train.
“They… assured us that (he) is safe with them,” said Abba, adding that the men said they would call back with instructions for a ransom.
A Kaduna journalist whose mother and sister are among the missing passengers said the suspected bandits made contact on Wednesday night.
“This has confirmed that my mother and sister are alive. They asked us to expect further calls on a ransom demand,” the journalist said.
Another relative, Malama Hadiza Gogo, told Reuters that she too received a call on Tuesday night and was told to stand by for a ransom demand for two missing family members.
Armed gangs roaming north-western Nigeria have spread terror among communities by kidnapping school children and villagers while also attacking security forces.