KADUNA, Nigeria, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s national rail company said on Thursday an explosion had rocked one of its passenger trains, damaging its fuel tank and forcing it to stop but there were no casualties or injuries.
The Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC) said the explosion occurred on its passenger train on the Abuja-Kaduna line on Wednesday night and that the damaged train had been taken for assessment and repairs.
“We are also pleased to inform the public that there were no reported casualties on either the passengers or the train crew,” NRC said in a statement.
Pictures circulating on social media showed a shattered front window of the train, damages to the coaches and people who were inspecting destroyed parts of the rail line.
Some travellers are opting to travel by rail after several people were kidnapped by armed bandits on some of Nigeria’s highways, especially in the northwest of the country.
A Reuters witness on board the train said he heard a loud bang, which forced the train to stop and lights and the air conditioning system immediately went off.
Writing on Twitter, Shehu Sani, a Nigerian senator who said he was on the train, attributed the explosion to the work of “terrorists” but did not provide evidence.
Nigeria is battling an Islamist insurgency in the northeast and armed bandits who have kidnapped hundreds of students, travellers and villagers for ransom, leaving the population terrified.
Reporting by Garba Muhammad in Kaduna and Tife Owolabi in Yenagoa; Writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Sandra Maler