Buhari said this further complicated the rescue efforts.
“They are using civilians as human shields, making it difficult to deal with them directly … Bandits and terrorists, unlike professional soldiers, don’t respect the rules of engagement; they don’t mind killing their hostages if they fall under attack,” he said. the Nigerian leader in a statement on the occasion of the celebration of Eid al-Fitr on Monday.
At least eight people were killed and more than two dozen injured when gunmen opened fire on a packed commuter train traveling from the capital Abuja to the northern city of Kaduna on March 28.
A survivor of the attack told CNN at the time that the train was hit by two explosions before gunmen opened fire on trapped passengers. After bombing the tracks, gunmen surrounded the carriages and opened fire, eyewitness Musa Bashir Usman said.
A video of some kidnapped victims surrounded by masked gunmen also emerged, but CNN could not independently verify the footage.
President Buhari said he had “ordered the security agencies to ensure a swift and safe recovery of all victims of the kidnapping” while urging the railway management of Nigeria “to create a situation room for the coordination of the rescue mission and the minute-by-minute involvement with the prisoners’ families ».
Deadly invasions and ransom kidnappings by gunmen known locally as “bandits” have become a persistent problem across Nigeria in recent years, even as the country is quick to contain the infamous Boko Haram terrorist group.
“There are fears that the bandits will become another major challenge as we face the Boko Haram threat,” Buhari added in his statement on Monday. “Let me assure the Nigerians that this administration will not allow that to happen.”
Buhari’s statement came as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres embarked on a Ramadan solidarity visit to the country to show support for the victims of terrorism.
Guterres also visited Senegal and Niger where he met with families affected by violence and instability in the Sahel region, including internally displaced people, his office said.