Suspected bandits attack passenger train in northern Nigeria

Aljazeera – Suspected bandits have attacked a passenger train headed to the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna from the capital Abuja after they trapped the train, the state government said.

Passenger Anas Iro Danmusa posted on Facebook on Monday evening that bandits had planted explosives to halt the train and were trying to force their way on board, and that gunshots were being heard outside.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and no casualties have been confirmed.

“The military has secured the Kaduna-bound train from Abuja trapped by terrorists,” a spokesperson for the Kaduna state government said. “Efforts are ongoing to convey the passengers from the location and others that sustained injuries have been rushed to hospitals for urgent medical attention.”

This is the second train attack since October in Nigeria, which is battling armed rebels in the northeast and bandits who have kidnapped hundreds for ransom in the centre and northwest, leaving the population terrified.

After several kidnappings by armed bandits on Nigerian highways, some people have started to travel by rail, especially in the northwest of the country.

In January, the government designated the bandits as terrorists, as part of measures to contain growing insecurity in the north.

The train was stopped about 25km (16 miles) from Kaduna when the attack happened, an official of the Nigerian Railways Corp (NRC) said, adding that a family relative was also trapped on board.

The NRC announced on Tuesday that it was suspending operations on the route – one of the most popular ones nationwide – until further notice.