By Uche Amunike
A few days after terrorists bombed and successfully immobilized a 970 seater Kaduna-bound train on Monday, leaving many dead, several others kidnapped and others wounded, some survivors of that Abuja-Kaduna train attack have been able to tell their own story.
According to reports, the terrorists planted explosives along the rail track which exploded as the train approached the point, leaving the train with no choice than to derail, making it easy for the bandits to successfully carry out their attack on the passengers.
Fatima Shuaibu is one of the survivors of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack. She studies at the College of Education, Gidan Waya in Kaduna state. She recounted how they heard a loud explosion as the train approached Kaduna, and their shock as the train went off the rail track. She narrated how the security personnel attached to the train commanded everybody to lie down on the floor for safety.
According to Fatima, her sister, Zainab Awal was not as lucky as she was because before they could lie down as instructed, Zainab had been shot in the stomach and died instantly.
Her words: ‘I was seated by the window in the train. Suddenly I started seeing torch light. It was around 8pm. Then there was a loud bang like as if something exploded. Suddenly the train went off track as if it was falling down. As soon as the train stopped, we started hearing gunshots’.
‘The security personnel on the train announced that everybody should lie down on the floor of the train. My sister (Zainab Awal) was shot in the stomach and she died’.
‘They attacked the VIP coach. They abducted some people and took them to the bush, they shot other people’.
‘They operated for about 2 hours before soldiers and Air Force arrived and they exchanged gunshots’.
‘The terrorists came with Sharon buses and motorcycles. Those who were abducted were taken away in the Sharon buses’.
‘The terrorists were small boys of between 18 to 20 years. I saw them, they don’t look like Nigerians’.
According to Fatima, they were eventually rescued by soldiers who evacuated them from the train and help them climb the cliff that led to the expressway, where vehicles were brought to carry the wounded to the hospital.
As for another survivor, Maimuna Ibrahim, she was thankful to God that she made it alive. According to her, she was on her way from Abuja where she attended a workshop and never envisaged that there would be an Abuja-Kaduna train attack.
She explained that the bandits forcefully entered that coach Sp17 where she was seated and started to shoot randomly, while screaming ‘Allah Akbar’, on top of their voices, meaning ‘Allah is great’ in the Arabic language. She confirmed that many passengers were beaten, kicked and forcefully abducted by the bandits.
She was lucky that her bone was not affected by the gunshot she got on her thigh. She recounted that when rescue eventually came, it was a soldier that carried her on his back to the expressway before they were taken to the hospital because she was unable to walk.
Hear her: ‘I was shot on the leg. But the bullet did not touch my bone. The bullet penetrated out of my leg. Honestly we suffered seriously, but thank God soldiers came and they really helped us’.
‘I was unable to walk, it was a soldier who carried me on the back to the car that brought us to the hospital. They carried us and were able to pass over the cliff. Seriously they tried because it was not easy climbing the cliff’.
‘The terrorists came into the train but they did not come to the place I was seated. I was hit by the bullet. They entered SP17’.
‘As they were shooting, the police security on the train asked us to lay down on the floor of the train so that the bullet would not get at us. Unfortunately before I could lay down the bullet hit me’.
On his part, Mohammed Isa was shot on his right arm as he was seated by the window side of the train.
His narrative: ‘There was an explosion and the train lost control. They started shooting at the train from afar, then they started coming. When they got to the train, they attempted to open the door but they had difficulties, so they shot at the door’.
‘They were speaking Hausa language but they were Fulanis. I was shot by the window. It took over one hour for soldiers to come.’