The Edo State Police Command has said it has arrested a criminal gang that specialises in robbing graveyards and using body parts for rituals, while six kidnappers were killed in a gun duel.
The Edo State Police Spokesman, SP Bello Kontongs, said the skulls taken from the graves are sold to herbalists for ritual purposes.
He said, “On 06/05/2022 at about 10:30hrs, the operatives of the Edo State Police Command arrested a criminal gang that specializes in vandalizing vaults and graveyards to desecrate corpses and decimate their parts for commercial purposes.
“The leader of the gang is Josephine Adun ‘F’ (40) of Omono Street, Off Stadium Roadhouse, Benin City. Other members are Oyegoke Olushola ‘M’ (42) of N0. 82 Zomi-Zomi Street Off Upper Sakponba Road Benin City, Edo State who is the gang herbalist and Charity Goodluck ‘M’ (29) of Forestry Road, Ologbo who bought the skull for Forty Thousand Naira (N40,000.00).
“Saddened by this crime, the CP is calling on all Local Government Areas of the state and other agencies of government who are empowered in safeguarding the cemetery to do so, as activities of these criminals need to be checked before they constitute more nuisance in the society,” he added.
He continued, “On 11/05/2022 at about 07:45hrs, the operatives of the command in collaboration with local vigilante went on bush combing in an effort to track down, possibly arrest and recover arms from kidnap syndicates who are in Uzea Forest Uromi in Esan Central Local Government Area of the state.
“The kidnap syndicate sighting the team of operatives, engaged them in a heavy gun duel, but the superior firepower of the team led to the death of two members of the syndicate while four others that were initially arrested in Ugboha and Ubiaja who were leading the operatives to the syndicate hideout namely; Mohammed Amedu ‘M’ (29), Shaibu Lawal ‘M’ (30), Nasiru Mohammed ‘M’ (31) and Mohammed Ibrahim ‘M’ (28) sustained serious gunshot injuries during the encounter.
“The injured suspects were taken to hospital where they died while receiving treatment.
“The following items were recovered from them; one AK-47 rifle, one pump action gun, one double barrel, five live ammunition and one AK-47 magazine,” he added.