After disquieting hours of silence on Sunday, the Presidency has dismissed the flogging of captives from the March attack of a Kaduna- bound train, and threat to the life of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nasir el Rufai of Kaduna, as the “latest version of terrorist propaganda.”
Recall that terrorists, who captured and have kept passengers in the forest for 119 days, freeing some after alleged payment of huge sums as ransom, released a video of some of the captives being ruthlessly flogged, while issuing threats to capture and kill the President and the governor.
In a statement, presidential spokesman, Mr. Garba Shehu, said: “Terrorist activity using propaganda and the use of violence to force governments to accept or submit to political demands is not new all over world.
“The country’s security and defense forces are not clueless or helpless. They have their plans and ways of doing things which they will not display in the media.
“The dilemmas in dealing with the specific case of train terrorists are manifold: punitive action like the popular call for carpet bombing of the known locations may assuage the desire of an angry public for revenge, but what about the hostages? They have committed no offense. All they did was to board a train.
“It suffices to say that the security forces are not relenting. They are acutely aware of their duties, responsibilities and what the nation expects of them. Whenever they embark upon those actions, they expect that the public should provide them with the needed support.
“Terrorism is a global scourge that must be fought by all actors- the military, the civilian population and the communication service providers. This is the only way safe havens of terrorists are eliminated in every part of the world.
“To help the nation against ongoing situation, the media must increase their support for the fight against the exploitation of the internet and social media for terrorist purposes.
“The Presidency, in the meantime wishes to reassure the public that the President has done all, and even more than what is expected of him as Commander-in-Chief by way of morale, material and equipment support to the military and expects nothing short of good results in the immediate.”
Everyday.ng reports that Hours after the video emerged there was no government response.
The terrorists also vowed to continue torturing the victims, and selling them off as slaves.
They boasted that they would destroy the country.
One of the terrorists threatened that they would turn the area into an abattoir unless the government complied with their demands.
“This is our message to the government of Nigeria and just as you have seen these people here, by God’s grace, you will see your leaders; your senators and governors will come before us,” one of the terrorists said in Hausa language.
“These ones you are seeing here, we will keep some as our slaves and sell them off just as our Imam told you in the past.
“Just like the Chibok girls that were sold off, we will equally sell these ones as slaves. If you don’t adhere to our demands, we will kill the ones we need to kill and sell the remaining. By God’s grace, El-Rufai, Buhari, we will bring you here.”
An unidentified victim called on the international communities to come to their rescue and accused the Federal Government of negligence.
“These people were ready to release us even a week after the incident, but Government refused to meet their demands. we are calling on France, England, and other international communities like UN, and AU to come to our rescue,” the captive said.