Tales of how the team assembled by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor took risks including sleeping in the bush and the corresponding effort by Malam Tukur Mamu to thwart the release of the victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack have emerged.
Dr AbdulMalik Atta, who is a member of the Presidential Committee that facilitated the rescue of passengers in an interview accused self acclaimed terrorists’ negotiator, Malam Tukur Mamu, of frustrating the release of the captives because of his own financial gains.
He affirmed that Mamu was the one who introduced money into the negotiations.
GWG.NG reports that Atta, whose father was among the abducted passengers, spoke in an interview on Channels Television.
He said, “Because of Mamu’s introduction of money into the rescue process, the victims’ families had parted with over $200,000 prior to the chief of defence staff’s intervention.
“The Presidential Committee made life-threatening sacrifices, as we had to go into the forest to meet with the terrorists and even slept in the bush.
“It has been six months and one week, but we thank God everything has come to an end now, thanks to the support from the federal government through the office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). We were able to go into the bush and bring back the remaining of our family members.
“We achieved this not through somebody who betrayed the committee and the government, I am talking about the person of Tukur Mamu who did everything within his reach to thwart the efforts of the government for his own interest. As we all know, he is in the hands of the government now. But we thank God, all our family members are back now.
“The bandits never asked for money ab-initio, Tukur Mamu introduced money into the whole thing and derailed the process and kept everybody for the past six months.
Noting the efforts of the team put out by the CDS, Gen Irabor towards fetching out the Abuja-Kaduna train attack victims, following the alleged distractions of Mamu, he continued
“We parted away with about 200,000 US Dollars. Thank God the CDS (General Irabor) took it upon himself and put in place a committee that never asked a kobo. Every sacrifice being done so far has been personal towards ensuring the release of the victims.
“In the committee, I can assure you that I worked with credible people of the highest order. If I have my way, all of them would be given national honours. We risked our lives, went to the bush, we slept there in the bush.
“We heard the complaints of those people (the terrorists), even though we knew what they have done is wrong, but we had to engage them.
“Going forward, our security agencies must synergise their operations and the government should open more room for further engagements.”