No fewer than 18 suspected cultists and gunmen, who allegedly caused violence during the presidential and the National Asembly elections have been arrested by the Oyo State Police Command.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the suspects were rounded up by the police in the Mapo area of Ibadan, Oyo State on Saturday.
Our correspondent gathered that the suspects, who wielded guns, belonged to a gang of cultists known as One Million Boys.
According to the police, the gang have been notorious in the area for unleashing violence on residents and taking the advantage of campaign rallies to mobilise for “deadly operations.”
The police added that the gang allegedly constructed bonfire on the expressway on Saturday.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the suspects were apprehended by policemen on patrol with the help of a special squad deployed in the state from Abuja. The cops were said to have engaged the cultists in a shootout and subdued them.
It was observed that items recovered from the suspects included guns, cutlasses, machetes, broken bottles, burnt tyres, charms, hammers and chisels.
While they were being paraded on Monday, one of the suspects, who allegedly supplied guns to the gang, 45-year-old Akeem Alade, told our correspondent that he thought he was dealing with hunters.
He said, “It is true that I sold most of the guns to them. I thought they were hunters. I did not know they were cultists.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Muhammed Katsina, who paraded the suspects, said the police were intensifying efforts to apprehend fleeing members of the gang.
He said, “I commend the people of Oyo State, on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, for the manner they conducted themselves during the voting. However, the atmosphere of peace that was created during the elections was disrupted by the activity of a group, which goes by the name of One Million Boys.
“Based in Mapo area, they came out in droves, armed with weapons and inflicted injuries on the innocent people of the area. When the police confronted them, 18 members of the gang were arrested and items were recovered from them.
“Fleeing members of the gang must report immediately to the police. I also enjoin residents of the area to help the police in fishing them out. We will not relent until the last gang member is apprehended.”