The police in Anambra, Southeast Nigeria, have placed 28 youths below the legal age of 18 under supervision for alleged involvement in cult activities, Haruna Mohammed, the Police Public Relations Officer of the state Command, has said.
In a statement in Awka on Friday, Mohammed, a Superintendent of Police, explained that the youths were among 103 suspects arrested during raids by the Command Special Anti-cult unit (SPACS) in the last 10 days.
He said some suspects had been arraigned in court, others released or still being investigated.
“From all the raids carried out so far, a total of 103 suspects were arrested; 30 suspects were screened out and released unconditionally, 20 suspects were charged to court,” Mohammed stated.
He added that “28 were placed under police supervision for being underage, while 25 suspects are undergoing investigation.”
Mohammed said dangerous weapons, including guns, ammunition, machetes, drugs and narcotics were recovered from the suspects.
He said the SPACS team stormed a hideout in Iwu village ,Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, to arrest a suspect who specialised in initiating underage youths into cult groups.
He said the suspect, a 20-year-old man, who had been on the police wanted list, was arrested alongside two of his inductees following a tip-off, adding that the initiates were inducted as members of Junior Vikings Confraternity.
Mohammed said the team on Thursday, July 23, 2020, arrested a member of Ayes Confraternity in Nnewi who led the operatives to Umudim, Nnewi, where five of his alleged accomplices were also apprehended.
“Exhibits recovered were four pump action guns, one double barrel gun, 20 expended cartridges, 10 live cartridges, 11 machetes , four improvised bunkers for inhaling substances suspected to be cocaine.
“Others were two chickens, one slaughtered goat for sacrifice and 95 wraps of weeds suspected to be cannabis sativa,” he added.
Investigations by HumAngle revealed that there is a huge involvement of youths in Anambra Staate in cult activities, which many believe will give them economic advantage.
Sources said the preponderance of cultism and drug abuse in the state has often resulted in communal clashes and crimes, such as armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, among others in the state.
A report by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons in June showed that 80 rape cases were recorded in the state during the lockdown against the spread of COVID-19.
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