Malam Tukur Mamu, the lead negotiator that mediated and successfully secured the release of 11 victims of the March train attack by terrorists, has said that the remaining victims in captivity may die in weeks due to constant snake bites and other life threatening illnesses.
Mamu who called on government to act fast in rescuing the victims, said ” most of the remaining victims of the train attack may hardly survive the next few weeks due to their deteriorating health condition and the inhuman condition they are subjected to in the forest.”
He however, threatened that “with the window of mediation I succeeded in opening and for building limited confidence between the government and the abductors, coupled with the success of securing the release of the 11 victims, I have done my part and I will no longer be part of any engagement regarding this issue for personal reasons.”
According to Mamu who is the media consultant to Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, although the remaining passengers in captivity were not beaten or molested by the terrorists, “efforts to rescue them must be treated as a national emergency if the government wants most of them to come back alive.
“I am alerting the leadership of the country particularly the security agencies and concerned Nigerians that something very urgent must be done immediately to save the lives of the remaining suffering victims.
“This is not time to politicize issues. Lives of very promising, innocent Nigerians are involved in this. Their health condition is deteriorating by the day. Even animals without proper care will hardly survive in the environment they are forced to live for nearly 3 months now. I believe government is aware and has taken note of the testimony of the 11 victims that were secured.
“It makes me sad when issues like this are not treated with dispatch, with the seriousness and speed it requires. Government must activate all avenues of diplomacy. It must be top of its priority now. We must not be distracted by prioritizing 2023 as I am sadly seeing now, while there is visible and glaring threats of losing the remaining victims.”
“There has been no major pronouncement lately by all the major political gladiators. All the major political parties have expectedly kept mute. Is it because none of them or their family members are involved?
“In addition to lack of diagnosis and treatment, coupled with poor nutrition, poor sanitary condition and how they are exposed to unbearable forest life, most of the innocent hostages have lately developed series of life threatening complications with some vomiting even blood.”
“The condition of those with already underlining illnesses is fast deteriorating. The Federal Government should act fast before it is too late. I feel frustrated and I feel the pain whenever I give updates and publicity to this lingering issue. The purpose is not meant in any way to embarrass the government or to create panic situation among the loved ones of the victims, but for all those concerned to be alerted about the real development, about the real situation on the ground for urgent collective efforts.
“Apart from illnesses threatening the lives of many hostages, snake bites that affect so many of them have been consistent lately. I can confirm to you that snakes are many in that forest. Some of them are victims of the snake bites as they appear frequently in the night. They only depend on local solution to treat it.
“The bites as we know can be life threatening. Government is the only authority with the means and powers to end this crisis as soon as possible. And with the right approach I can assure you it can be achieved within days or weeks. We have proven that in the release of the 11 victims.
“I keep repeating that when one by circumstances was left at the receiving end of every bargain situation particularly a bargain that will secure the lives of innocent people from dreaded killers, government must be prepared to make compromises and to take painful decisions.
“If we can tolerate corrupt officials that are stealing billions every day as a result of which poverty and insecurity increase, for me it is not out of place to use negligible part of such stolen resources to secure such victims whenever the need arises. And if for any reason government did not act promptly, since it has been alerted, they must be prepared to take full responsibility,” he said.