- A total of 23 suspected cultists have been arrested by the Nigerian army while 15 suspected pipeline vandals were also arrested
- The army said the suspects engaged in a shootout between the troops of 174 Battalion
- The suspects were said to be members of "Eiye" confraternity
The Nigerian army on Saturday, April 21 said that it arrested 23 suspected cultists, who were conducting physical training for new recruits, initiation and planning for robbery and kidnap activities.
The army also said that it arrested 15 other persons suspected to be pipeline vandals and recovered 31 jerry cans of refined petroleum products in the process, NAN reports.
NAIJ.com notes that Major-Gen Enobong Udoh, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division of the Nigerian army, made this known at a news conference at the 174 Battalion, Ikorodu area of Lagos.
Udoh was represented by the Brigade commander, Brig-Gen Moundhey Ali.
He said: “In continuation of the crackdown on criminal elements and cultists in and around Lagos and Ogun states, the troops of 81 Division arrested 23 suspected cultists in Ikorodu area on April 16.
“Over 50 suspected cultists from “Eiye” confraternity were conducting physical training for new recruits, initiation and planning for robbery and kidnap activities.
“Their arrest was preceded by a shootout between the troops of 174 Battalion Ikorodu and the cultists after which, 23 of the suspected cultists were arrested while others escaped."
The GOC said that two of the suspects sustained gunshot wounds, adding that one of the suspected newly-recruited cultists died as a result of injuries inflicted on him during the cult initiation.
“Items recovered from the suspects include one locally-made double barrel pistol, five live cartridges, five machetes, four jack knives, two table knives, three locally-fabricated axes with nail-like edges and five mobile phones.
“Also recovered from them are one parcel containing substance suspected to be Indian hemp. Others are two ATM cards, eight identity cards, nine passport photographs, packets of condom, rings and a variety of charms."
The GOC further said that while on anti-bunkering patrol along Imoro Creek in Ikorodu, troops discovered sabotaged points along the NNPC pipeline including a loading area in the Creek for siphoned products where eight suspected vandals were arrested.
He added: “Items recovered from them include; 10 vehicles, 31 Jerry cans loaded with refined products, 77 empty Jerry cans, three coolers, nine mobile phones and substances suspected to be hard drugs. Another set of 1,320 empty Jerry cans were also discovered and destroyed."
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that at least 8 suspected cult members, vandals and a drug peddler were apprehended by troops of the Nigerian army currently taking part in the Operation Python Dance exercise in the southeast.
The development was made public by Colonel Sagir Musa, deputy director, army public relations, on Friday, October 6, 2017.
Police parade over 50 suspected cultists in Lagos - on NAIJ.com TV