The Nigerian Army said on Saturday it arrested 23 suspected cultists who were conducting physical training for new recruits, initiation, robbery and kidnapping.
The army also said it arrested 15 other persons suspected to be pipeline vandals and recovered 31 jerry cans of refined petroleum products in the process.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Enobong Udoh stated this at a news conference at the 174 Battalion, Ikorodu area of Lagos.
Udoh was represented by the Brigade Commander, Brig.-Gen. Moundhey Ali.
The GOC, who said the suspects were arrested at different times and locations, said the arrests followed intensive surveillance and intelligence report.
“In continuation of the crackdown on criminal elements and cultists in and around Lagos and Ogun states, the troops of 81 Division arrested 23 suspected cultists in Ikorodu area on April 16.
“Over 50 suspected cultists from ‘Eiye’ confraternity were conducting physical training for new recruits, initiation and planning for robbery and kidnap activities.
“Their arrest was preceded by a shootout between the troops of 174 Battalion Ikorodu and the cultists after which, 23 of the suspected cultists were arrested while others escaped,’’ he said.
The GOC said two of the suspects sustained gunshot wounds, adding that one of the suspected newly-recruited cultists died as a result of injuries inflicted on him during the cult initiation.