A KADUNA-BOUND train with an unspecified number of passengers on board was last night attacked by terrorists. Many passengers were injured.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and Kaduna State Government confirmed the incident.
The gunmen were said to have blown up the rail track, forcing the 1000-capacity train to derail around Rijana, a village on the rail corridor in Kaduna.
The NRC immediately suspended services on the corridor.
Last October, the Abuja-Kaduna rail track came under a similar attack.
It was gathered that the 6pm train that took off from Rigasa in Kaduna arrived in Abuja on schedule around 8pm.
However, the one that took off from Idu in Abuja, ran into the explosives planted by the terrorists.
A passenger on the train called for help in a tweet.
“Please this is an emergency. We are inside the train at the moment. Kidnapper’s planted explosives and the train engines have been ruined,” the passenger, identified as Anas Iro Danmusa, twitted from the train.
He added: “We are helpless on the Abuja to Kaduna train. Gunshots still being fired right around us. We are just under the seats praying to God while waiting for help. Since 8pm, we have been here, between Katari and Rijina. I am a living witness”.
In another message, the passenger announced the arrival of the security forces at the scene.
The Kaduna-bound train was attacked between Katari and Rijana in Kaduna State. No fewer than 900 passengers were said to be on board. This could not be officially verified.
Confirming the incident in a telephone chat, NRC Managing Director Fidet Okhiria said: “It is true but we don’t know the details yet.
“We cannot give you much information now but most of the passengers have gone into hiding and they cannot be giving information, but there are reports of gunshots, continued gunshots as the train stopped.
“If we have more details, we will get it across but I will be in Abuja tomorrow because of this incident.”
Anxious Nigerians took to their Twitter handles to make clarification and confirmation.
The former senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani in multiple Tweets called on Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) to confirm the incident.
Sani also said he has been trying to reach a number of passengers on the train without getting through to them.
He added that villagers who confirmed the incident said they heard multiple gunshots from afar in the forest.
“We have been trying to call the numbers of passengers in the Kaduna-Abuja train but it’s not connecting @Official_NRC.
“Villagers along Abuja-Kaduna road called to confirm hearing multiple gunshots and attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train by terrorists”.
Kaduna State Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan in a statement issued around 11:00pm, said: “Troops secure Abuja-Kaduna train trapped by terrorists.”
He added that, some of the passengers who sustained injuries had been rushed to the hospital, while efforts were on to convey other passengers from the location.
Aruwan said: “Security agencies have reported to the Kaduna State Government that the military has secured the Kaduna bound train from Abuja trapped by terrorists.
“The Kaduna State Government received multiple reports of an attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train service at around Kateri-Rijana general areas.
“Relevant action agencies were urgently contacted, and robust deployments of personnel were swiftly made to the area to secure the passengers on board.
“Efforts are ongoing to convey the passengers from the location and others that sustained injuries have been rushed to hospitals for urgent medical attention.
“The Government of Kaduna State will be liaising with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to ascertain the list from the passengers’ manifest for efficient tracking.
“This is to acquire an accurate inventory of all passengers and their actual status.
“Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i who has been in constant touch with the security forces, commended them for their prompt response, and thanked them for successfully securing the train and passengers on board.
“Security forces continue to comb the general area in additional rescue efforts.
“Emerging developments will be communicated to the public,” he said.