ARMED gangs who kidnapped dozens of passengers in an attack on a train in northern Nigeria are using civilians as human shields, making it difficult for the military to carry out a rescue mission, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday.
Nigeria’s state railway company said last month that 168 people were missing following the March 28 attack.
Local media last week showed a video of victims of the kidnap, including a baby recently born to one of the abducted women.
Buhari said the government, which has been criticised for not doing enough to rescue the passengers, was trying to avoid a ‘tragic outcome’ in any rescue operation.
‘They (the kidnappers) are using civilians as human shields, thereby making it difficult to confront them directly,’ he said in a statement.
‘It’s a delicate situation … Any rescue operation that results in the death of any hostage cannot be deemed a success.’
Abductions have become almost a daily occurrence in Nigeria, where the armed gangs abduct people for ransom and hide in forests.
The brutal nature of the attacks have increased insecurity fears in a country also grappling with an insurgency in the northeast and rising criminality around the country.