The cessation of abduction incidents and other violence perpetrated by terrorist groups on the Abuja-Kaduna highway arose from deals and other efforts of a security panel raised by the immediate-past Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Leo Irabor.
Recall that armed bandits and Boko Haram had for some years turned the highway into their ‘horror den’, where they kidnapped several road passengers for ransom, with the attack on a Kaduna-Abuja train on March 28, 2022, eliciting global condemnation.
But after the attack and rescue of the last set of train passengers (held captive for almost six months) in October last year, PRNigeria gathered that there has been a lull in terror attacks hitherto launched by bandits and terrorists on the Kaduna-Abuja expressway.
A top military officer who confirmed PRNigeria’s findings on the prevailing secured state of the Kaduna-Abuja highway also faulted the claim by Asari Dokubo that military troops are no longer mounting surveillance and vigilance on the highway corridor, but local vigilantes.
“Before securing the release of 23 remaining Kaduna train passengers, we signed a three-month renewable agreement with terrorists on cessation of hostility on Abuja- Kaduna Airways,” he said.
The military officer who also worked with the intelligence corps, explained that the terrorists who have been operating on the Kaduna-Abuja expressway have different ideologies from Boko Haram and ISWAP, even though they share some common identities.
The officer disclosed that the March 28, 2022 attack and abduction of some train passengers in Kaduna was retaliatory and demanded the release of some of their family members in military custody.
“Immediately after the train, some concerned retired security officers facilitated the first initial release of victims without paying a ransom.
“Meanwhile, some vested interests encouraged the terrorists to demand ransom from affected families and the government.
The government didn’t pay any ransom but released some family members including women and children of terrorists from security custody.
“Over N2.5bn was paid by well-wishers and families of the victims to terrorists. With the signed renewable agreement, the terrorists stopped their attacks, prevent others from doing so and also provide information on the activities of other bad groups in that axis.
“There is no vigilante or security volunteer group manning any post on the Kaduna-Abuja Express against the claim of Asari Dokubo. While soldiers are stationed at strategic places within a short distance on the expressway, policemen regularly carry out mobile security patrols along the highway,” he said.
PRNigeria gathered that academics, community leaders, as well as serving and retired security operatives served in the CDS Panel. They have so far signed at least three renewable agreements for cessation of hostility in the axis based on conditions for peace and development.
Join our WhatsApp Group to receive news and other valuable information alerts on WhatsApp.