Bandits attack passenger train in northwest Nigeria

The Abuja-Kaduna train
Photo credit: Courtesy | Nigerian Railway Corporation


Barely two days after 12 bandits were killed in a botched attack on Kaduna Airport in North West Nigeria, the terrorists have attacked a train with 960 passengers which was travelling from Abuja to Kaduna.

In the Monday attack, some people were reported killed and an unknown number abducted.

The train services between the federal capital city of Abuja and North West Kaduna state have been disrupted following the attack.

The Kaduna State Government confirmed that the military had secured the Kaduna-bound train.

Kaduna State’s Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, said on Monday that many had been feared injured or abducted in the attack.

“The Kaduna State Government received multiple reports of an attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train service around Kateri-Rijana general areas,” Aruwan said in a statement.

“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.”

Passenger manifest

He said that the government of Kaduna State would liaise with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to get the passenger manifest for efficient tracking.

“This is to acquire an accurate inventory of all passengers and their actual status,” he said.

Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i of Kaduna said he was in constant touch with the security forces to successfully secure the train and the 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.

There had been earlier reports that the terrorists attacked the train a few kilometres from the Rigasa Train Station in Igabi Local Government Area of the state late 2021.

Homemade bomb

The bandits hit the railway track with a homemade bomb which forced the train to derail.

When the train stopped, the assailants were said to have begun firing sporadically.

The train was inaugurated in 2015.

Meanwhile, the garrison commander of the One Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen Uriah Opuene, said bandits on March 26, 2022 attacked the Kaduna Airport but were promptly repelled.

The attack took place six kilometres away from the terminal point and outside the airport’s perimeter fence.

Brigadier Opuene said twelve of the bandits were killed in an air strike by troops of the Nigerian Airforce while ground troops successfully took the battle to the enclave of the bandits inside the forest.

The military declared the Kaduna International Airport as safe for passengers and staff and said the bandits did not have the capacity to attack the airport due to heavy security presence.

Flights stopped

Despite the safety declaration of the airport by the military, airlines on Monday stopped flights at the airport, leaving many passengers stranded.

The airlines reported that the suspension of operation to the airport was to re-evaluate security at the airport.

“The Management of Azman Air will like to inform the general public that we will be halting our operations into Kaduna Airport for a few days.

“We understand the security situation around the airport has been handled and normalcy has been restored accordingly, but it is imperative for the management to re-evaluate its operational procedures into the airport to ensure maximum safety of equipment, staff and passengers is fully guaranteed.

“The bedrock of our operations is safety and we will continue to explore every option to aid its delivery to the highest standard. Thanks for your usual cooperation,” Azman Air said in a statement.