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Female doctor dies in bombed Kaduna train after Buhari supporters said she wasn’t aboard

After sustaining gunshot wounds, Chinelo Megafu said on Twitter she was aboard the train and urged fellow citizens to pray for her recovery.

• March 29, 2022

A Nigerian dentist riding on the train that was attacked on Monday night has died of gunshot wounds, reports said, hours after supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari said she was not aboard.

Armed bandits unleashed terror on the Kaduna-bound train at about 7:00 p.m., detonating explosives to derail it before executing a forced entry where they opened fire on passengers.

Chinelo Megafu, a graduate of the University of Port Harcourt and former staff of St Gerard Catholic Hospital, Kaduna, was one of the fatalities so far confirmed. Dozens are still feared missing or injured from the train, which was said to be carrying over 1,000 at the time of the incident.

After sustaining gunshot wounds, Ms Megafu said on Twitter she was aboard the train and urged fellow citizens to pray for her recovery.

“I’m in the train. I have been shot, please pray for me,” she posted on Twitter at 9:43 p.m., six minutes after Peoples Gazette reported the attack.

As Nigerians showed prayers and sympathies at Ms Megafu, Mr Buhari’s supporters were raining invectives against the victim, saying she was not aboard the train in an attempt to neutralise negative perception about yet another failure of the administration on security.

Iyabo Awokoya, a social media coordinator for Mr Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress, condemned Ms Megafu as a useless liar.

“Oni iro oshi,” she said directly under the victim’s post.

Another pro-government commentator, ChaAley10, said: “You’re shot and you can still tweet, which part of the body were you shot? Chinelo why have you loved lies this much?”

Chinonso Egemba, a medical practitioner and social commentator, was among the first persons to public disclose the passing of Ms Megafu.

Following confirmation of Ms Megafu’s death, including a picture of her lifeless body, some of the mean tweets were deleted by their authors. The Gazette has however archived dozens of them.

Ahead of his tenure expiration next year, Mr Buhari’s supporters have become increasingly desperate in recent weeks as they seek to mould a legacy of tranquillity during his administration. Hours before last night’s attack, information minister Lai Mohammed had called a press briefing to excoriate critics of the administration’s handling of the worsening security crisis as peddlers of misinformation trying to return to power by dubious means.

Baba Tukur, a resident of Kaduna who knew Ms Megafu, said she was a diligent and hardworking professional who was also “good at her work.”

In 2015, Ms Megafu won the beauty and brains award for medical and dental students at the University of Port-Harcourt. She finished her national youth service in 2020.

Dozens of other passengers who were aboard the train were still missing or abducted, while some others were taken to the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital for treatments. A spokesperson for the hospital did not immediately return a request seeking comments.

The military had previously said attacks against travellers between Abuja and Kaduna had subsided as more people embraced rail transportation. The Nigerian Railway Corporation has suspended passenger trains between the two cities in the wake of the attack.

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