Nigeria. More than 150 people still missing after the attack on a passenger train | New

The March 28 attack was the latest deadly attack blamed on heavily armed criminal gangs, known locally as bandits, in the area.

A week after gunmen attacked a train with explosives in northwestern Nigeria, the whereabouts of 168 passengers remain unknown, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) said.

At least eight people were killed and many others missing on March 28 when gunmen detonated a bomb on the tracks and opened fire on the train linking the capital Abuja to the northern city of Kaduna. west.

In a statement on Sunday evening, the NRC said of the 362 passengers on board the train at the time of the attack, 186 had been confirmed safe and sound.

The NRC said of the remaining 176 passengers, eight were confirmed dead, leaving the fate of 168 still unknown.

He said efforts were still underway to rescue the missing passengers.

The March 28 attack was the latest deadly attack blamed on heavily armed criminal gangs known locally as bandits in the area.

The company said damaged tracks and coaches were being repaired while services on the Abuja-Kaduna route had been “temporarily suspended”.

Two days earlier, gunmen had killed a perimeter security officer in an attack at Kaduna airport before the armed forces intervened.

Gunmen also attacked the same railway line with explosives in October.

Bandit gangs in Nigeria’s northwestern and central states have long terrorized communities, carrying out mass kidnappings for ransom, attacking villages and stealing livestock.

But their violence escalated. Dozens of armed men arrive on motorbikes, sometimes attacking several villages, killing and kidnapping inhabitants.

Gunmen also kidnapped people on the highways between the capital and towns such as Kaduna and the northwestern commercial center of Kano.

The Nigerian army has carried out operations and air raids to eliminate these bandits from their camps hidden in the forests of several northwestern states. But the violence continued.

Security forces are also battling a 12-year armed campaign by Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the northeast that has killed 40,000 people and displaced more than two million others.

Jose P. Rogers