Muhammad Abdulllahi, one of the survivors of the Kaduna train Kindapping, has narrated the moment kidnappers attacked the train as something that looked like a Hollywood movie while it was unfolding.

Abdullahi, a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), told correspondents of The Nation that he was still getting scared of anything that sounded like a gunshot even though he knew he was now in the comfort of his family house.

Aftermath of the attack on the train

Narrating his ordeal, he said he had joined the train on that fateful evening because he was confident that it was safer than travelling by road, but the attack, proved him wrong.

Abdullahi said he had been deployed to Niger State to serve as a member of the NYSC. “I had gone to Niger to do my documentation. On my way back, I decided to join the train in the belief that it was safer than travelling by road. Right from the scene of the attack, I was so scared and traumatized because the attack on the train was like a scene in a Hollywood movie. I thought I was dreaming, but I later realised it was a reality. They were firing gunshots. Some people were killed instantly, some were injured and about 65 of us were marched into the bush”.

Abdulllahi described his ordeal in the hands of the bandits as one that started from the moment their journey into the jungle commenced, stating that they trekked barefooted for four days.

According to him, they stopped at some of the bandits’ transit camps and continued until they arrived at their main camp. Once there, they were never moved anywhere again. “That was where we were in all the 191 days we spent in the jungle“.

Speaking on his current state of mind, the freed hostage said “Even now that I am out of captivity, I feel shock whenever I hear anything like a gunshot or a helicopter passing.

Abdullahi, who is one of the last victims to be set free, said “Life in the terrorists’ den was terrible. We were staying for days without bathing. We were fed only twice in a day and mostly with carbohydrates. They did give us Tuwo with soup. At other times it was rice or one food they called dambu; it is made with corn flour.”

Reacting to the viral video released by the terrorists where they were seen torturing the hostages, Abdullahi said: “On that day, the terrorists were trying to release three people among us, and on their way, they saw a military checkpoint and had to turn back to the camp. That was the day they did the video where they were beating us. They said they wanted the government to withdraw the military from their way.

“It is also true that they used to bring doctors to the camp to treat those that were sick and those that were injured. And whenever we requested for medication, they use to bring medicines to the camp.”

Thanking God for sparing his life through the torturous journey, the young Abdullahi said as a believer in God, he was hopeful throughout the 191 days in captivity, that he would one day regain freedom, especially when the terrorists started releasing his fellow hostages in batches.

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe