According to medical officials, seven passengers were killed when gunmen ambushed a packed train between Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, and Kaduna city.
On Monday evening, the gang mined the track, causing the train carrying 970 passengers to come to a halt.
According to one passenger, gunmen surrounded the carriages and began fire.
Unknown numbers of passengers were kidnapped off the train, which was thought to be the safest mode of transportation between the cities.
Kidnappings for ransom have become all too regular in Nigeria.
Kidnappers have been known to ambush automobiles at various spots along the Abuja-Kaduna route, making it one of the most dangerous roads in the country.
Many people have been urged to avoid the 150-kilometer (93-mile) travel by road in recent years, instead opting for the rail link, which opened in 2016. It is more expensive, but it is regarded safer because the trains are equipped with armed guards.
According to the BBC’s Chris Ewokor in Abuja, this is the second time the rail connection between the cities has been targeted in the previous six months, but it is by far the most serious.
22 individuals were hurt in the incident on Monday evening, according to the Bazzup Hausa service, and are being treated at a military hospital in Kaduna.
One woman working as a hospital volunteer in Kaduna told Bazzup Focus on Africa that the first-hand tales she had heard were shocking.
A railway worker told her that he managed to elude the kidnappers by fleeing as they led him and “25 people” into the bush on foot.
Another person claimed that when she was shot, “the bullet went right through her knee” and that the soldiers saved her.
Military forces rushed to the area, according to a senior security source who spoke to the AFP news agency.
“The attempt was thwarted by the troops who had arrived on time. When the soldiers arrived, the terrorists ran. “Because the train is bulletproof, the passengers who were lying still on the floor were spared.”
Operation along the line has been halted by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
The governor of Kaduna state has also condemned the attack, calling it a “terrorist” act and expressing his condolences to the victims’ families.
Millions of people in northwestern states use the rail line to go to Abuja and other parts of Nigeria.
Authorities in Kaduna state claim they are in contact with the NRC to determine where all of the passengers are and who is missing.
Despite military bombardment of their hideouts, armed gangs carrying out ransom killings and kidnappings have continued to wreak havoc, particularly in northern Nigeria.
They attacked Kaduna’s international airport just last Saturday.