19 arrested as death toll rises to six in Lagos cult clash

The Lagos State Police Command said on Monday that it had apprehended 19 cultists for the clash among rival groups in the Alakuko area of the state, adding that the suspects had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba, for discreet investigation.

The command’s Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said in a statement, “On Monday, February 8, 2021, while deliberating on security issues with the Area Commanders and Police Mobile Force Commanders in Lagos State, the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, warned motorcycle operators, commercial drivers and Lagosians in general to respect the laws of the state.

“He also charged them to desist from attacking police personnel and other security operatives, who are enforcing the Lagos State traffic regulations and COVID-19 safety protocols. While reacting to the ongoing cult-related fracas at Alakuko, Dalemo and Kola areas of the state, the police boss confirmed that 19 suspected cultists were arrested during the crisis. Items recovered from them include weapons, assorted charms and weeds suspected to be Indian hemp.

“The CP said intelligence at the command’s disposal revealed that the hoodlums came from the Ota area of Ogun State to lay siege to the affected border communities and the command has been repelling them.

“The command has deployed additional police personnel, including riot police personnel, to curtail the hoodlums and restore normalcy to the affected communities. He has also directed that the arrested suspects be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba for discreet investigation.”

Six yet-to-be-identified persons have reportedly lost their lives in the ongoing clash involving suspected cultists in the Dalemo and Alakuko areas.

It was gathered that the clashes started on Friday with the cultists taking advantage of the tension in the area to rob unsuspecting members of the public of their valuables.

It was learnt that the fight was between boys from Dalemo in Ogun State, led by one Biodun, aka Confidence, and a gang in Alakuko called the Ori Tiles Boys, who are infamous for attacking their targets with the sharp edges of broken tiles.

The cultists, who were joined by area boys, allegedly burgled shops belonging to residents and business owners, and looted goods from them. Vehicles parked on the road were also vandalised.

A resident, Joshua Isiah, said one person was killed on Saturday, adding that valuables worth millions of naira were lost during the operation.

He stated, “All of a sudden, cultists stormed our area and started burgling peoples’ shops and looting property. They came to the area around 10.30pm on Saturday, created panic and a lot of people ran helter-skelter.

“Some courageous youths later clashed with them and in the process, a lady, who was among the invaders, was killed. The police took her corpse away. Angered by what happened to one of them, the hoodlums again attacked the residents in the Dalemo area around 8.30pm on Saturday.

“Since then, everyone in the area has been living in fear; there is still apprehension and when anybody just shouts that they have started, without confirming what is happening, people will start running helter-skelter to escape unhurt.”

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Another resident, Seyi Abejoye, said the clash started when youths in the Dalemo area formed an emergency gang to forestall a robbery operation led by a faction of the area boys, adding that six persons had been killed.

He said, “When I got to the Alakuko bus stop, all the shops, including those built around the police station, had been burgled. The hoodlums broke bottles all over the road from the Alakuko bus stop to about 500 metres away and they were unchallenged. Between Friday and Saturday, three persons, including a lady, were killed. I saw when they were carrying the corpses and blood was all over the scene of the attack.

“On Saturday evening, they also came out and they operated unchallenged and in the process, killed two rival members. There is a guy known as Confidence in Dalemo, he and his gang are the ones clashing with another rival group in Alakuko.

“As I speak with you, they have started clashing again this Monday morning simply because one of Confidence’s boys, who was injured during the clash and was placed on admission in hospital, died this morning.

“To retaliate, his group came out this morning and started tormenting the entire area and traders in Alakuko have closed their shops. Some locked themselves in their shops, while others ran away. The police are doing nothing despite seeing these boys carrying weapons around.”

Another resident of the area, who gave his name simply as Oyetomi, said a lot of people sustained injuries during the clash, adding that no fewer than 20 vehicles belonging to residents were destroyed.

Residents were also heard lamenting that security in the Dalemo and Alakuko areas of the state had collapsed.

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said the hoodlums responsible for the attack in the area were from neighbouring communities, adding that the state police command would collaborate with the Ogun State Police Command to proffer solutions to the clashes.

Adejobi stated, “Policemen are at Alakuko to restore normalcy in the area. The bad boys, who caused the problem at that place, came into the area from a neighbouring community. We are aware of this and working towards finding a lasting solution to it.

“The state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered the DC Operations, Lagos, to get in touch with his counterpart in Ogun on how to stop the activities of the bad boys in the area and other parts of the state. Further developments will be communicated to you as and when due please.”

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