THE Edo State Police Command said it had arrested about 30 suspected cultists and 20 kidnappers engaged in cult activities and the abduction of prominent persons in several areas of the state.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Samuel Adegbuyi, who disclosed this on Saturday at the command’s headquarters in Benin, said the suspected kidnappers were intercepted by highway patrol teams of the command at some locations within the state.
Adegbuyi noted that while the suspects had confessed to the crimes with 107 arms and ammunition recovered, 15 of their victims had been rescued.
The police chief, who recalled that the command arraigned 227 cultists in May, 2015, added that the additional 30 suspected cultists were undergoing interrogation and would be charged to court subsequently.
“Apart from the 227 high profile cultists arraigned in court between May 2 and 9 this year, we have 20 suspects who have confessed to have kidnapped various prominent individuals in the state and even outside the state.
“Fifteen victims of kidnapping have been rescued. Nine AK-47 riffles were, in the process, recovered. One bereta pistol and about 60 locally made weapons as well as some paraphernalia of military outfits were also recovered,” he added.
Adegbuyi said as part of measures by the Inspector-General of Police, several highway patrol vehicles had been deployed in locations within the state, including Benin-Lagos Road, Benin-Agbor Road, Benin-Akure Road, Auchi-Okpella Road, Ibilo, Ehor and Benin Bypass.
The CP, who described some of the suspects as “travelling criminals”, said the suspects were not resident in Edo, but used the state as an escape route.
He commended local vigilante groups, who had used their knowledge of the terrain to aid the command in tracking down criminals, even at odd hours.
Adegbuyi, however, called for continuous collaboration with relevant stakeholders in crime control, including traditional and religious leaders, to make the state safer.