By AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna and Faith Yahaya, Abuja
Mukhtar Shuaibu, one of the five hostages freed yesterday by terrorists that attacked a Kaduna-bound train in March this year, has narrated the pains he passed through when a ‘doctor’ battled to extract a bullet from his stomach.
Shuaibu said the bullet lodged in his stomach when one of the terrorists accidentally shot him after his noon prayer on the 85th day of their captivity.
According to him, the terrorists’ ‘doctor’ inserted a finger and scissors into his stomach in search of the bullet.
“When the ‘doctor’ came, he immediately put on his hand gloves and put his finger through the bullet holes into my stomach looking for the bullet. He could not find the bullet.
“Later, he inserted scissors still looking for the bullet. I was shouting because it was paining me. Still, he could not find the bullet,” the freed hostage said.
Shuaibu, who spoke during their visit to Mallam Tukur Mamu, publisher of Desert Herald, who facilitated their release in Kaduna, said what was uppermost in his mind was getting a proper medical procedure.
He described the hostages’ experience as traumatic and appealed to the Federal Government to quickly secure the release of the others still being held.
Shuaibu said: “The people remaining in captivity are not in good health condition, especially a woman who is close to 90 years and children.
“We were in the terrorists’ captivity until the 85th day, on a Tuesday. I was sitting down. I just finished my noon prayer.
“All of a sudden, I heard the sound of the gun. I suddenly discovered a bullet hit me. I saw blood flowing down through my short nickers.
“Mustapha Imam, a doctoral degree holder, who was also a hostage asked me to lie down. They looked for a piece of cloth to cover the spot above my navel.
“Up till this moment, the bullet has not been found in my body and it is not as if it came out of my body through the back.
“The past four months in the terrorists’ den were traumatic. There was no rest of mind because we were sleeping and waking up with gun sounds.”
Shuaibu said the remaining captives, including children and an aged woman, were in a pitiable condition.
He appealed to the Federal Government to get them rescued as quickly as possible.
The other passengers released with Shuaibu are Mustapha Imam, Akibu Lawal, Abubakar Rufai, and Sidi Sharif.
Their freedom brings to 29, the number of those so far freed by the terrorists.
The terrorists killed nine of the train passengers, injured many and abducted 69 during the attack.
Last week, the terrorists freed four of the passengers after collecting a N400 million ransom.
They had a few hours before freeing the four, released a video in which they were seen flogging the hostages and threatening to kidnap President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Nasir El-Rufai and senators.
The terrorists also boasted that they would destroy the country, kill some of the hostages and sell off the others as slaves if their demands were not met.
Desert Herald publisher Mamu, who named the freed hostages and made their photographs available to reporters, did not say if a ransom was paid or not.
Earlier yesterday, Transport Minister Muazu Sambo said that service along the Abuja-Kaduna rail corridor would only resume when all the remaining hostages regained their freedom.
Sambo, who inspected the Idu and Kubwa stations, added that the process for the procurement of a digital security system that will monitor the rail tracks was ongoing.
He explained that resuming operations without all the hostages reuniting with their families would portray the government as being insensitive.
The minister said: “It is very important to get those Nigerians that have been kidnapped reunited with their families, otherwise it will appear the government is not sensitive.
“The government is doing everything it can to make sure that those who have been affected by this abduction are reunited with their families. I think it is an important step to do that first and foremost.
“Secondly, we must put in place adequate security and infrastructural measures to protect and prevent all forms of threats that are possible.
“Technology can make that possible and we are trying to deploy the best technology available anywhere in the world that has served very well in other jurisdictions.
“We are in the process of procuring the sensors and that is why I said we must ensure that we put in place every infrastructure that will ensure that lives are safeguarded.”
Sambo dismissed claims that Nigerian Railway Corporation staff members that were onboard the train had been abandoned.