Suspected cultists arrested recently in Lagos
A gang war between cultists said to have come from Fadeyi area of Lagos led to many people sustaining gunshot injuries on Wednesday night at Abule-Ijesha area of Yaba.
There was no recorded fatality in the fracas, which eyewitnesses said started around 8.30pm and ended around 10.30pm.
When our correspondent visited Abule-Ijesha, a place that is considered a base for many gang members, on Thursday, there was no sign that a violent clash had taken place in the area the previous night but it was obvious that residents were still apprehensive about what may come.
Some of the residents have started relocating from the area, afraid that the gang members at the receiving end of Wednesday’s clash would embark on reprisals.
One of such residents who relocated with her family was a young woman who had in the past been raped by gang members in the area.
A young man who spoke in hush tones at Mosuro Street where the clash of the previous night took place, said when the fracas started on Wednesday night, their expectation was that there would be dead bodies on the road as usual by the time the fight was over.
The resident said, “This whole area is crawling with cultists. We all know them anytime we see them, but nobody dares say anything unless the person is ready to die.
“Nobody is really sure what started last night’s fight but usually, the groups always come for reprisals once any of their members is attacked or killed.
“When we heard the shots, everybody knew that they were the cult boys. We ran inside our houses and locked the doors. Occasionally, we heard screams after a shot rings out, showing that bullet must have hit someone. Many people were shot but nobody dared to go out and see.”
When our correspondent approached another resident, a young man, who also pleaded anonymity like the previous resident, he quickly signalled that he could not speak in that vicinity.
“You need to leave this place now,” he said.
He pointed towards a part of the street where he said some of the cult boys who had attacked the previous night were still hanging around.
Having exchanged phone numbers, he spoke with our correspondent over the phone after leaving the scene.
“Last night clash was scary. It was between Eiye cult boys from Ibrahim Balogun, aka Small Jpron’s side,” the young man said.
Balogun is a gang member wanted for a series of murders in Somolu, Bariga and Fadeyi areas of the state.
The resident who said the residents of Abule Ijesha were currently frightened about an attack that might come later in the night, explained that the clash was caused by a previous killing of a gang member in Bariga area of Lagos.
He said, “One of the boys of a gang leader from Fadeyi killed someone in Bariga and he came to hide in Abule Ijesha. The group whose member was killed in Bariga got angry because they believed Abule Ijesha people harboured him.
“Both sides of the fight were Eiye boys. The Eiye boys from Fadeyi came to Abule-Ijesha to attack the head of the Eiye Confraternity of the University of Lagos.
“He quickly called his friends who are also cult members and members of the Small Jpron group. When those ones came, six of them (Small Jpron’s group) were shot during the clash that lasted for about two hours.
“They rushed those that were shot away. They know how to remove the bullets anytime they are shot. As I speak to you, nobody is safe here. Some of Small Jpron’s boys are still here. They are taunting those who shot their members to show up and be killed. This is why many people are relocating from this area for now. Many women have left.”
He said the boys were currently lurking around Mosuro and Oguntuga streets, waiting for members of the other group to go to the area.
When our correspondent visited Abule-Ijesha, no police patrol was seen around the vicinity.
The residents said some of them who could not stomach the violence and the impending reprisal had left the area temporarily.
Asked why they did not call the police since they knew where the gang members were hiding in the area, one of the residents said, “We cannot call the police now because we are afraid that they would know the person that reported them to the police. The police at Sabo division were not able to do anything even after we called them last night. I am leaving for my brother’s house in Ojota this evening.”
According to a resident, Eiye boys beat up some policemen at Ilaje area of Bariga recently, when one of their members was arrested.
“They freed the boy from the police vehicle and took away the handcuff. These boys are the same people who attack and kill people around here all the time,”Saturday PUNCH was told.
Residents of the area fear incurring the wrath of the cultists in the area, so those who spoke with Saturday PUNCH pleaded anonymity.
Areas such as Fadeyi, Mushin, Shomolu and Bariga are places residents refer to as the hotbed of gang wars where many people die almost every week.
In February, during one of the usual gang wars at Mushin, suspected cultists shot a bread seller and another woman who had a baby on her back. Both mother and baby died on the spot.
Also in February, a DSTV engineer, 23-year-old Segun Olukoga, died after he was attacked with a sledge hammer and dagger by suspected cultists in Mushin.
On March 3, 2014, five suspected cultists stabbed an unidentified man to death on Bajulaye Road, Shomolu area of Lagos. The man was left to bleed to death on the road.
Abule-Ijesha is said to house members of the Downtown Boys, who had been flushed out of Bariga.
Saturday contacted the Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Damasus Ozoani, informing him that residents alleged that the gang members were still around.
He said, “The residents are not sincere. Don’t they have a relationship with the police division? Actually, I have not got any report of the clash. We would have taken a step on it.
“They said the police came last night briefly and left; how could the police have stayed there overnight without proper information? Send me the names of the streets where the residents said the gang members are right now. I will alert the police division in the area.”