Explainer: What Is Happening In Kaduna?

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On Friday night, terrorists numbering 200 invaded the Kaduna International airport, killing a security guard attached to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and preventing a Lagos-bound commercial flight from leaving. Yesterday night, a train conveying passengers to Kaduna from Abuja was attacked and held hostage by gunmen suspected to be bandits around the Dutse axis of Kaduna state.

How did this happen?

The suspected bandits struck a few kilometers from the Rigasa Train Station in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna state at about 9pm. Passengers aboard the train reported that the train was bombed with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), forcing the train to derail. Once the train stopped, the attackers began shooting sporadically. The terrorists proceeded to allegedly force themselves on the train, kidnapping an unspecified number of people and injuring others. 

One passenger aboard the train took to Facebook to explain the extent of the damage, standing that the train engines were ruined as a result of the explosives.

What is the current situation?

Nigerian Army troops arrived at the scene after the train was held hostage for over an hour, successfully repelling the bandits after engaging in gunfire and securing the train. Efforts were also made to ensure that passengers were safely conveyed from the location. The injured were also rushed to hospitals and are receiving urgent medical attention.

What are the implications?

Following the most recent attack by bandits, Kaduna state may face isolation, with no safe means of entry or exit. 

The Abuja-Kaduna route has become famous for being under siege by bandits over a period of several months, with kidnapping and killings occurring in broad daylight at an all-time high. 

On the 6th of March 2021, 10 people were kidnapped from the FAAN staff quarters on the airport premises in Kaduna. The victims were rescued two weeks later by the Nigerian military, but no information was given about the terrorists who were responsible for the abduction.

With Kaduna’s proximity to the capital city of Abuja, these attacks are a blatant representation of the collapse of Nigeria’s security framework. Currently, Kaduna state is one of the hotbeds of bloodshed in Nigeria. According to government records, 1,192 people were killed and 3,348 people kidnapped for ransom in multiple attacks in 2021.

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