Terrorists seized scores of passengers during an attack on a train in northern Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday. They are using people as human shields, making it harder for the military to conduct a rescue attempt.
168 individuals were reported missing last month following the March 28 incident, according to Nigeria’s state railway corporation.
Last week, a video depicting abduction victims was released, featuring a baby born to one of the abducted women. Reuters was unable to independently verify the video’s veracity.
Buhari stated that the government, which has been criticised for failing to save more passengers, was attempting to avoid a “tragic conclusion” in any rescue mission.
“They (the kidnappers) are utilising citizens as human shields, which makes confronting them directly difficult,” he added in a statement.
“This is a precarious position… Any rescue mission that leads in the death of a captive cannot be considered a success.”
Abductions have become nearly routine in Nigeria, where armed gangs kidnap individuals for ransom and conceal themselves in jungles.
The assaults’ brutality has heightened worries of insecurity in a country already coping with an insurgency in the northeast and an upsurge in criminality throughout the country.