Facts of how terrorists gained entry into the ill-fated Kaduna-bound passenger train have emerged.
A top security source tells Quest Times that some of the informants who boarded the train, actually opened the doors for the terrorists to get in and wreak havoc.
The security source who was inside the train, said he saw the moles opening the door for the assailants to gain access into the VIP coach during the shoot-out.
He said the terrorists first targeted the VIP coach.
“Immediately the train was bombed, the terrorists began to shoot at the train, their informants inside the train opened the door and led them to the VIP coach,” says the source.
A Twitter user, @HAHayatu who was in the ill-fated train tweeted that: “Some of the passengers in that Abuja-Kaduna train were actually informants to the bandits that attacked the train. Because when the incident happened, some passengers were the ones pointing at passengers to pick, especially in the VIP section.”
Meanwhile, a national daily newspaper, Daily Trust, has also revealed how intelligence of a possible attack on the train was ignored.
The paper reported that there were repeated warnings by the intelligence service about the movement of bandits with a mission to attack the train service and other facilities in Kaduna.
Senior security officials had confirmed the existence of many intelligence reports warning of a planned operation by the criminal groups, with one senior official describing the incident as “totally avoidable.”
Asides from the failure of the security forces to halt the planned attack, the newspaper gathered that the Kaduna State Security Council and the leadership of the 1 Division Nigerian Army headquarters, had also separately asked the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) to suspend the late-hour shuttle between the two cities, an advisory that was however ignored.
In a February 17 intelligence report, one of the security services had alerted of the arrival of “over 80 well-armed bandits” from the camp of notorious Zamfara bandit, Bello Turji, into Buruku Forest in Chikun Local Government of Kaduna State and establishing presence around Falalin Dutse and Rafin Dawa Danne.
The gunmen were said to have arrived Kaduna on the invitation of a banditry kingpin called Kwalba, with the intent to attack the Kaduna-Abuja train. The bandits also reportedly penciled down the Rigasa Train Station and the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) as possible targets.
In a separate intelligence report privately shared with security agencies in Kaduna on March 23, it was reported that bandits on over 300 motorcycles, had left the Danjibga area of Zamfara State on an undisclosed mission to Rijana Forest through Birnin Gwari.
Another detachment was said to have left for Kebbi and Niger States around the same time.
A senior security source in Kaduna confirmed to Daily Trust that there were reports of movement of Turji’s men to Kaduna, saying however that the intelligence was not authenticated.
But a source said it was the men of Halilu Sububu, not Turji, who were in Kaduna around this time, with some of them already back in their enclaves in Zamfara State.
The Kaduna security source, who did not want his name in print, said the attack was carried out by Boko Haram elements in collaboration with bandits.
Two sources; a local with knowledge of bandits’ activities, and a senior intelligence officer in Abuja, confirmed that a Kaduna-based bandit leader, Boderi, was involved in hatching the attack.
Boderi is notorious for masterminding a number of atrocious attacks in Giwa, Chikun, Igabi and Zaria Local Governments in Kaduna State, including the abduction of students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, in March last year and kidnapping of the Emir of Bungudu, Alhaji Hassan Attahiru in October of the same year.
While the civilian source said Boderi was responsible for the attack, the intelligence source said the banditry kingpin was only co-opted by terrorist groups who planned the attack.
“That was beyond bandits. It was a classic Boko Haram operation. You could see from how they used a command IED; an explosive that was detonated remotely on target,” the intelligence official said.
He said for a long time, military and intelligence services have noted “a lot of movement of Boko Haram members into the forests in Kaduna around Kidandan, Rigachukun and on the way to Birnin Gwari where they chased out some bandits to take control.”
A survivor of Monday night’s attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train, Fatima Shaibu, has narrated her traumatic experience during the attack on the ill-fated Abuja-Kaduna train recently.
According to the survivor, who is a student, the bandits targeted the VIP coach through which they entered the train, adding that the bandits probably are not Nigerians.
Shaibu, who spoke from the hospital bed where she was taken to after surviving the attack, said the bandits were mostly young men of between 18 and 20 years.
She said they spoke some foreign languages that are different from the Nigerian Hausa and Fulani languages.
“I was sitting close to the window, I was inside the VIP coach, when I heard a sound as if someone threw a bomb under the train, then the train started wobbling, then the train tilted as if to fall down, after then, the train stopped. And the bandits started shooting.
“They broke open the door of the train on the VIP side and they came inside. They took out some people, shot some people, and went away with some, taking them into the bush before the security people came like one hour thirty minutes after the attack, over 500 security came and rescued us.
“They were targeting the VIP coach, after that they attacked the economy coach, SP 17 and shot many people there. They told us they came with five Sharon cars and motorcycles, they just put people inside the cars and took them away.
“When the soldiers came, they had a face-off with the soldiers. There was a serious exchange of gunfire between the bandits and the soldiers. As they were shooting, they started shouting Allahu Akbar. After that, they ran away.
“The soldiers and police came inside and rescued us, they took us to Kaduna-Abuja expressway, they came with long buses, to carry us to Kaduna. They took some of us who were injured to hospitals, some to 44 (Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Kaduna), some to St. Gerald (Catholic Hospital Kaduna).
“They are small children like 18-years-old, 20-years-old and they did not look like Nigerians, they look like Chadians, like Nigeriens because they speak languages like Fulani, but not purely the Fulani of Nigeria and they are not even more than 20 in number,” she said.