The police in Benue State have arrested 16 suspects including a university student in connection with cult activities which led to the killing of several persons within the past one month at different locations in the state.
Spokesperson of the command, DSP Catherine Anene, said the suspects were apprehended following intelligence networking by the police, who had been on the trail of some cult members responsible for reprisal killings in the past one month as well as destruction of property.
Anene, who paraded the suspects before newsmen at the command’s headquarters in Makurdi, said of the total number, 12 were arrested in a bus on their way to Adaka village along Naka road to bury one of their own, suspected to have being killed by a rival cult group.
She said the remaining four suspects were arrested in their hideout and a pistol recovered after police operatives raided the house following a tip off from members of the public.
Answering questions from newsmen, the alleged leader of the suspects, one Cephas Tersoo, said to be a member of Red Skin, said he had long denounced his membership of the group.
Tersoo said they were on their way to bury their brother when they were arrested, alleging that the father of the deceased they were going to bury had called on them to fetch the remains of his son and proceed to bury him in Adaka village.
However, some of the suspects contradicted Tersoo’s narrative as they admitted that they were arrested on a bike but were not cult members.
On his part, Daniel Odu, a 300 level student of Benue State University (BSU), who was arrested alongside three others in their hideout and a pistol recovered under his bed, owned up to being a member of Red Skin cult.
Odu said the three others were his friends from Abuja who had come to visit him but were not cultists. One of the three, Tope Jacob, said he was not a cultist but a stylist who was just a victim of circumstance after a gun was found inside his friend’s house while he was visiting.
Meanwhile, DSP Anene said the police commissioner had deployed operatives in a bid to trace all the cultists, stressing that some of them invited other cult members from outside their environs so that they (cultists) could hit and run.
Anene added that the suspects would be charged to court when investigation is concluded.