Kaduna state has been in the news in light of recent terrorist attacks. Over the weekend, the Kaduna International Airport was on the receiving end of a terrorist attack. Two days later, bandits bombed the rail tracks between Katari and Rijana in Kaduna. The terrorists shot sporadically as they made their way onto the train. Business Day reports that about 900 hundred passengers may have been kidnapped before the arrival of security forces while several others were missing, injured or killed during the attack. The Kaduna State Government has received the passenger manifest from the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) which shows that 398 passengers bought tickets for the trip. The passenger manifest does not include NRC staff and security officials who were on board. As of today, March 30th, there are 8 dead and 41 hospitalised, according to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. However, an anonymous health worker at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna told Daily Trust that there are 9 bodies at the mortuary. “So far, there are nine bodies all with gunshot wounds, in fact, one of the victim’s heads was badly damaged because he was hit by the bullet on the forehead.” Several remain unaccounted for, as search operations continue.
In such times, it’s easy to get lost in the statistics and forget the humanity of the victims. Like us, they had dreams and aspirations. Combining media and social media reports, here are some of the victims confirmed to have been affected by the Kaduna train attack:
Chinelo Megafu (Deceased)
Chinelo was a doctor. Her friends say she worked at St Gerald’s hospital in Kaduna before resigning last month in anticipation of leaving the country this week. About an hour into the attack, she tweeted, “I’m in the train. I have been shot please pray for me.” Her tweet was initially waved off as a prank by many on Twitter until she was confirmed today to be one of the casualties of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack.
Maimuna Ibrahim (Injured)
Maimuna is one of the survivors of the attack. She sustained a bullet wound in the thigh and had to be carried out by the soldiers. Narrating the terrible ordeal to the media from her hospital bed said, “The terrorists came, were moving about in the train, but they did not come to where I was seated. I was hit by the bullet through the window. They entered SP17. As they were shooting, the police security on the train asked us to lie down on the floor of the train so that the bullet will not get at us. Unfortunately, before I could lie down the bullet hit me. We saw hell, I prayed and prayed and prayed. I was shot in the thigh. But the bullet did not touch my bone. The bullet penetrated out of my thigh. Honestly, we suffered seriously, but thank God, the soldiers came and they really helped us. I was unable to walk, it was the soldiers who carried me on the back to the vehicle that brought us to the hospital. They were able to pass over the cliff, carrying us on their backs! Seriously, they tried because it was not easy climbing the cliff.”
Musa-Lawal Ozigi And Akinsola Akinwunmi (Deceased)
The President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, has confirmed the death of Barrister Ozigi and the Kwara State Chairman of the union, Akinsola. They were on their way to Kaduna for an official assignment slated for Tuesday, 29 March 2022. Ozigi was the General Secretary, Construction and Civil Engineering Senior Staff Association (CCESSA), an affiliate of TUC for almost two decades before he joined Congress in 2012. “We call on the government at all levels, especially the federal government to rise up to the occasion to stop the killing of innocent Nigerians. As it stands, nowhere is safe now - we cannot travel by air, the road is not safe and neither is the rail. Is Nigeria a failed state? It is unfortunate,” he said.
Fatima Shuaibu And Zainab Awal (Injured/Deceased)
Fatima survived the brutal attack but her sister named Zainab Awal, who got shot in the stomach, did not make it. Sharing her story from her hospital bed amid tears, she said: “I was seated by the window on the train. Suddenly I started seeing flashes of touch light, this was around 8 pm. Then there was a loud bang as if something exploded. Then the train went off track as if was falling down. We started shouting and praying. As soon as the train stopped, we started hearing gunshots. They operated for about two hours or so before soldiers and Airforce arrived and they exchanged gunshots. The terrorists came with five buses and motorcycles. Those who were abducted were taken away in the Sharon buses. The terrorists were small boys between 18 to 20 years. I saw them, they don’t look like Nigerians. The soldiers rescued us on the train. Those of us who were injured were evacuated from the train. They climbed the cliff with us and took us to the expressway where vehicles were brought to carry people.”
Members Of The Taxi Drivers Union
An anonymous senior official of the union told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that eight members were affected by the attack, adding that only four are accounted for.
Alwan Ali Hassan (Kidnapped)
Hassan, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Agriculture, has been confirmed as one of the kidnapped Abuja-Kaduna train passengers. “The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Agriculture was one of those kidnapped. The terrorists used cars to move the kidnapped persons away,” a source told SaharaReporters. A source confirmed the news, telling The Nation that he is unreachable as his line has been off since the attack.
Abdulaziz Kassim is the brother of one of the victims. He was at the station today consoling his distraught mother as he talked about his missing brother. In his words, “He has been missing since yesterday’s tragic incident occurred; we heard of it in the night and that is why we came here this morning. His number is going through but there has been no response. The train officials are yet to tell us anything about the missing persons. They, however, said some were at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, we went there but we couldn’t find him, we pray that God should keep them and return them back to us safely.”
Alhaji Ibrahim Wakkala (Injured)
This former Deputy Governor of Zamfara State was on the Abuja-Kaduna train when the attack happened. He was one of the 15 patients rushed to St. Gerald’s Catholic Hospital; he was shot in the leg. “He is responding to treatment very well. He is answering phone calls in his bed. I spoke to him and several other people spoke to him also. There is no cause for alarm,” the former media aide to the ex-Deputy Governor, Yusuf Idris, said.
Not much is known about Maryam except for the fact that she has been confirmed dead according to social media accounts. Reportedly, she was 21 years old and the only daughter of her parents.
Abdu Isa Kofarmata (Deceased)
Kofarmata, the director of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), lost his life during the attack. His death has been confirmed by his close friend, Ibrahim G. Maryam.
Sani Carpenter (Escaped)
Sani is one of the people who managed to escape from the terrorists. Telling Daily Trust about his ordeal, he said, “The terrorists took me along with other passengers when they attacked the train in their large numbers, but as they were taking us into the bush, I managed to run away. They took many people away but I escaped through the darkness into the bush. While I was roaming in the bush, I saw security agencies that came this morning (Tuesday) to the scene so they picked me.”
Farida Sule Mohammed (Deceased)
This 29-year-old lawyer was killed during the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train. She was the daughter of the National Organising Secretary of the Peoples Redemption Party, Mallam Sule Mohammed. Confirming her death, Babatunde Alli, PRP National Secretary said, “We have tragically and unfortunately lost Farida Sule Mohammed, a 29 years old (almost 30 actually) daughter of our amiable National Organising Secretary, Mallam Sule Mohammed, in the banditry attack on the Kaduna-Abuja train yesterday. Our Chairman, Mallam Falalu Bello OFR, and the father of this slain heroine are currently at the hospital to collect the corpse. This indeed is a sober moment for the entire PRP family. While asking the Almighty Allah to grant her soul eternal rest, and to bring an end to evil in our nation, let us please remember this great family in our prayers.”
Elizabeth Musa (Missing)
Esther Musa, seen shedding tears at the train station in Kaduna, said her mother was on the train during the incident and is nowhere to be found. “My mother, Mrs Elizabeth Musa, came to visit her ailing brother. Since the incident, her number has not been going through. Where ever she may be, I pray she is safe and will return to us in Jesus’ name,” she said.
Yakubu Nuhu Danja (Injured)
Yakubu survived the attack with some injuries. He was returning from the just concluded APC convention. The Engineer turned politician is the current Katsina commissioner for health and a committed member of the All Progressives Congress. Sharing his experience with visiting Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi and his team in Kaduna, he said: “About three minutes before the train halted, we heard the train making a sound like an old trailer on bad pavement for about two minutes and people were asking themselves what was going on but before we knew it, they(attackers) started shooting from all angles. I think they put the gun in a rapid mood, so that inculcated fear in people. I could see when bullets were penetrating the body of the train, I saw holes. I tried to move my leg because it was on the floor and I was wearing a shoe but the bullet penetrated and one of my fingers is completely off. I heard when they were asking who is a member here? I think they were looking for a better catch or maybe they had a target or a clue but they were asking questions in Hausa. I saw when they shot a pregnant woman, they were really merciless. We waited for about 90 minutes before the rescue came.”
Mohammed Isa (Injured)
Mohammed Isa, another male victim, was shot in his right arm. He was seated by the window side of the train and saw the bandits as they approached. Telling Punch about the attack, he said, “There was an explosion and the train lost control. They started shooting at the train from afar, then they started coming. When they got to the train attempted to open the door but they had difficulties, so they shot at the door. They were speaking Hausa language but they were Fulanis. I was shot by the window. It took over one hour for soldiers to come.”
Muhammad Amin Mahmood (Injured)
He is one of the causalities in the Abuja-Kaduna train attack. Fortunately, Mahmood escaped alive with a gunshot injury on his thigh. He has debunked the news of his death that circulated earlier, adding that he is currently receiving treatment at a medical facility. “Good day ladies and gentlemen. Special gratitude goes to Almighty Allah. This is to debunk media reports that I was shot dead. I only sustained an injury from a gunshot on my thigh. I am presently receiving treatment at a medical facility, ” he tweeted. Mahmood was one of the aspirants for the position of Youth Leader for the North West in the just-concluded National Convention of the All Progressive Congress (APC). He was returning from the convention via the Abuja-Kaduna train when tragedy struck.
Mallam Muhammadu (Alive)
Muhammadu survived by hiding under a seat in coach SP 17. He saw the gunmen take his fellow passengers away, kill a passenger in the coach as well as the train driver. In his words, “We saw the train driver. He came out and attempted to run but they shot and killed him. The terrorists were chanting Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar and saying Come down, come down!! I was hiding under the seat praying…it remained about two steps for the terrorists to get to me but after killing a passenger, they started arguing before going to the VIP coach.”
Loretta And Abdul (Deceased)
Passengers were not the only ones affected during the attack. Two cleaners and workers of the attacked Abuja-Kaduna train identified as Loretta and Abdul have been confirmed dead.
Aftermath Of The Attack
Following the attack, the Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, has suspended its Abuja-Kaduna train service until further notice. Friends and relatives looking for their missing loved ones are advised to check the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna. Blood donors are also needed at medical facilities in Kaduna to help the victims of the Abuja-Kaduna railway attack.
Daily Trust reports that the bandits have started reaching out to some of the families of the abducted victims. So far, no ransom demand had been made. “They called us around 1 pm on Tuesday and assured us that our relative is safe with them. They did not however demand any ransom but said that they would call back,” a brother to one of the victims of the incident identified as Ibrahim said.
Malama Hadiza Gogo, a relative of two of the abducted victims, said she has also been contacted by the terrorists. In her words, “Though I was not allowed to speak with any of them, I was reassured that they are well. They asked us to be on standby for a ransom demand.”
Reacting to the tragic attack, President Buhari ordered the immediate conclusion of all processes for implementation of the Integrated Security Surveillance and Monitoring (ISSM) Solution for the Abuja — Kaduna Rail Line as well as a manhunt for the terrorists. “Anyone found unlawfully wielding an AK 47 should not be spared!” Buhari declared as he expressed optimism that Nigeria will overcome the “forces of evil.”
As families and friend mourn their loss, the state government has announced plans to take financial responsibility for the medical treatment of the injured victims. This is the second Kaduna train attack in five months and the latest in the ongoing trend of violence and bloodshed by unknown bandits in Kaduna State. 1,192 people were killed while 3,348 were kidnapped by terrorists in 2021, according to government records.
*This article will be updated as we get more information.