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INSECURITY: Terrorists threaten to kidnap top politicians

•Flog abducted Abuja-Kaduna train passengers, mull killing some, selling others

By Olusegun Olanrewaju and Cross Udo
The spate of insecurity prevalent in the country worsened yesterday as a group of terrorists in the North-West threatened to kidnap President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, and other top politicians.

The troubling threat, made in a video released by the terrorist group, came some weeks after Buhari’s convoy was attacked in Katsina State.

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On Saturday, the terrorists released a video threatening the President and other top politicians.

They were also filmed flogging kidnap victims.

In the two-minute 50 seconds video, some male abducted victims were seen crying as they were being flogged by the terrorists, who allegedly recently attacked the Kuje Prison in Abuja.

It followed a trajectory of terrorists and bandits conducting hair-raising activities in the troubled North-West zone.

For instance, on March 28 terrorists, had attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train, killing eight and kidnapping no fewer than 61 passengers.

However, on April 7, the Managing Director of the Bank of the Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, was the first to be released after reportedly paying a N100m ransom.

After 75 days, the terrorists released 11 persons held in captivity.

According to the negotiator and media consultant to the Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, Tukur Mamu, the releases are achieved “following a series of robust engagement with the terrorists and with the approval of the Federal Government.”

However, on July 9, seven of the victims were later released after reportedly paying a heavy ransom of N800m.

The remaining 43 victims were told to pay N100m to secure the release of their loved ones.

One of the terrorists said in Hausa language, “This is our message to the government of Nigeria, and just as you have seen these people here, by God’s grace, you will see your leaders. Your senators and governors will come before us.”

They threatened to kill and sell the kidnap victims with them if the government failed to address their demands

“These people you are seeing here, we will keep some as our slaves and sell them off just as our Imam told you in the past. Just like the Chibok girls that were sold off, we will equally sell these as slaves.

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“If you don’t adhere to our demands, we will kill the ones we need to kill and sell the remaining. By God’s grace, el-Rufai, Buhari, we will bring you here,” he said.

*CNG reacts

Meanwhile, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), has expressed worry over the latest twist in Nigeria’s security situation which it said has exposed “the total failure of the government to check growing national threats”.

The group opined that, in the face of the latest development, Nigerians would be right to resort to self-protection.

It said that the bandits and insurgents have sensed a huge vacuum in the capacity and political will to challenge them.

“We are extremely worried by the latest twist in Nigeria’s security situation which has exposed the glaring failure on the part of our government to check growing national threats,” the spokesman of CNG, Suleiman Abdul-Azeez, said in a statement.

“It is this vacuum the criminals exploit with ease and at will, while the government, which is supposed to be the first responder, appears to be either living in perpetual denial or ignorant of the reality of the situation.

The CNG added, “We have viewed the video clip and assessed the contents and find it disturbing to realise that Nigeria has finally come to terms with the reality that it has completely lost control of its forests, land borders, highways and to some extent, the airways and seas to insane bandits and insurgents in the North, deadly armed separatist armies in the East, pirates and other assortments of criminal gangs in the far South and the West.”

The group said the ‘audacious violence’ shown in the video released by the terrorists and the open threats to abduct the president and sitting governor proves the extent to which the country has lost out to the bandits.

They observed that having come this far, they are no longer in doubt that the only remaining option is the hard way, which involves communities abandoned to the mercy of deadly insurgents and sundry criminals to immediately mobilize to protect themselves, their homes, and families.

“No people would tolerate to continue to live under such conditions while being led by a government that appears to run from threats and incapable and lacking in the political will to challenge the threats,” the statement explained.

It said whether anybody wants to admit it or not, the current administration has failed in the vital area of providing security of life and property to its citizens.

The CNG added that all the signs of imminent failure or perhaps a complete failure of state have manifested in Nigeria as its government has failed to maintain a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within its borders.

According to the statement, with the current dominant presence of warlords, paramilitary groups, corrupt policing, armed gangs, terrorism, and a messed-up security apparatus in the country, the very existence of the state has been rendered dubious, and the Nigerian state is by all indicators appearing like a failed state.

*It’s propaganda, Presidency reacts to threat on viral video

The presidency yesterday stated on a recent video by terrorists threatening President Muhammadu Buhari and flogging Kidnapped train passengers.

Reacting to the development via a statement, Senior Special Assistant o the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, described the video as ‘propaganda’, adding security agencies were on top of the matter.

According to the Presidency, “Terrorist activity using propaganda and the use of violence to force governments to accept or submit to political demands is not new all over the world. The country’s security and defence forces are not clueless or helpless. They have their plans and ways of doing things which they will not display in the media.”

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Shehu added, “The dilemmas in dealing with the specific case of train terrorists are manifold: punitive action like the popular call for carpet bombing of the known locations may assuage the desire of an angry public for revenge, but what about the hostages? They have committed no offence.

“All they did was board a train. It suffices to say that the security forces are not relenting. They are acutely aware of their duties, responsibilities, and what the nation expects of them. Whenever they embark upon those actions, they expect that the public should provide them with the needed support.

“Terrorism is a global scourge that must be fought by all actors- the military, the civilian population, and the communication service providers. This is the only way safe havens of terrorists are eliminated in every part of the world.”

“To help the nation against the ongoing situation, the media must increase their support for the fight against the exploitation of the internet and social media for terrorist purposes.

“The Presidency, in the meantime, wishes to reassure the public that the president has done all, and even more than what is expected of him as Commander-in-Chief by way of morale, material and equipment support to the military and expects nothing short of good results in the immediate.”

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