President Muhammadu Buhari has provided another excuse as to why his government has found it difficult to defeat banditry.
The president told some residents of the Federal Capital Territory on Monday during a Sallah homage at State House, Abuja, that his administration had failed to defeat bandits because they use their captives as human shields.
DAILY GIST had reported how some terrorists attacked a Kaduna-bound train on March 28, killing at least nine people, wounding several others and abducting an unknown number of passengers.
The president told his guests that efforts were ongoing to rescue the captives assuring that no effort will be spared for their safe return.
He equally directed the Nigerian Railway Corporation to provide more regular and detailed information to families.
The president said, “As we celebrate this occasion with joy amidst friends and family members, we are fully conscious of the fact that many families in our country are in a state of fear and anxiety on account of the many captives held by terrorists against their will, including those taken away after the tragic bombing of the Abuja – Kaduna train.
“I have directed security agencies to ensure quick and safe recovery of all victims of kidnapping. I urge the railway management to immediately set up a situation room for the coordination of the rescue mission and for a minute by minute engagement with the families of the captives.
“This should ease their pain and anxiety as we push the military to finding a safe return to their families. My aim is to see all those in captivity safely rescued.
“Let me assure Nigerians that the bandits are just pushing their luck, but this is only for a while before they are finally crushed. They are using civilians as human shields, thereby making it difficult to confront them directly.”
According to the President, bandits and terrorists, unlike professional soldiers, don’t respect the rules of engagement and could resort to harming hostages when attacked.
“They don’t care about killing their hostages if they come under attack. It’s a delicate situation that requires wisdom, caution and also patience. Any rescue operation that results in the death of any hostage cannot be deemed a success.
“The government doesn’t want this kind of tragic outcome. It’s a complex situation that demands proper handling. The primary objective of any rescue operation is to free the hostages safely, unharmed and alive.
“Let me make it clear, however, that defeating the terrorists and bandits requires more than weapons; we also need human intelligence which is necessary to frustrate terrorist plans.
“The people and community leaders should help our security officials with information about the activities or