The Egyptian Police have arrested the lead negotiator between the terrorists and passengers kidnapped from the attacked Abuja-Kaduna train, Alhaji Tukur Mamu.
The PUNCH gathered that Mamu was arrested in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, on Tuesday.
The terrorists’ negotiator was said to have been arrested in Egypt alongside his family members.
Mamu was said to be on his way to Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj when he was detained at the Cairo International Airport.
Efforts by our correspondent to reach out to Mamu through phone calls and text messages proved abortive as a woman was heard speaking when a call got through to his line.
Meanwhile, Mamu’s arrest was coming a few days after the All Progressives Congress vice-presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima, visited the publisher and Sheikh Gumi in Kaduna State.
The ex-negotiator personally shared pictures of the visit with our correspondent on Monday.
Confirming the arrest, the Management of the Desert Herald Newspaper, said the arrest was an attempt to intimidate its publisher.
In a statement on Wednesday by its Head, Special Projects, Ibrahim Mada, the management accused the Federal government of contriving the arrest, deportation of Mamu from Egypt to Nigeria.
The statement read, “His patriotic mission to ensure the safety of the hapless passengers made him a target of blackmail by unscrupulous elements in the government who are hell bent in punishing him for this noble but dangerous sacrifice for the fatherland. Such threats and intimidations have forced him to reveal on a number of times that his life was under serious threat.
“Due to numerous threats to his life and conspiracy from the side of security agents to frame him, he withdrew from the said negotiations but from his latest sojourn, it appears that those who are desperately praying for his head are still hell-bent in carrying out their odious dastardly plans.
“But it is our fervent hope that the evil machination of these desperate elements will be nixed by the fact that Allah is always by the side of the oppressed. This evil machination like the ones before it, shall also come to pass,” the statement read in part
The PUNCH reports that some bloodthirsty terrorists attacked the Abuja-Kaduna bound AK9 train on March 28, and abducted some passengers.
The terrorists planted explosive devices along the rail track and when the train approached the point, the device exploded, causing the train to derail, leading to the death of eight passengers.
A day after the attack, another passenger who suffered from a gunshot wound died, making it nine, the total number of those killed in the attack.
From the manifest received by the Nigerian Railway Corporation, 398 passengers bought tickets but 362 were validated as having bought tickets. Over 60 passengers are still in the kidnappers’ den and have spent over 50 days in captivity.
After the abduction, the bandits threatened to commence the killing of abducted passengers in their custody if the Federal Government failed to meet their demands within seven days.
Parts of the demands were the unconditional release of their detained children held in an orphanage home in Adamawa State under the strict supervision of the Nigerian Army as well as the release of their detained comrades at arm.
The terrorists also disclosed that the suspended train service by the Nigerian Railway Corporation slated for May 23 on the Abuja-Kaduna route was a result of their threat to the government.
According to the bandits, the government is not sincere with the negotiation, warning that unless their detained children, forcefully taken away by security operatives from their wives in Nasarawa State and detained in Adamawa State, are released, none of the kidnapped passengers will come out alive.