Residents with the help of soldiers yesterday uncovered a tunnel used by suspected ritualists at Ladipo bus-stop, Agege Motor Road, Lagos State, while six suspects have been arrested with efforts ongoing to fish out other members of the gang who were running father inside the tunnel.
Military uniforms, camouflage, schools uniforms, clothes belonging to persons suspected to have been declared missing and other personal effects were recovered from the tunnel. It was gathered that trouble started for the suspected ritualists when they accosted a woman who was going to work in the early hours of yesterday.
The woman was being dragged into the tunnel by the suspects, but by divine intervention, she escaped and raised the alarm, which attracted other passersby.
As sympathizers were chasing after the suspects, they ran into the tunnel.
An eyewitness, Benson Oyibo, said: “I was going to work because I work in a hospital when I saw a woman shouting for help. The woman is a street sweeper. I joined some sympathizers who ran towards the woman. She was panting and gasping for breath, we calmed her down and asked her to explain to us what happened to her. She told us that as she was going to work, a man approached her and pretended to be asking her questions while another man started dragging her towards the tunnel, but she managed to escape.
“We tried to enter the canal, but we were discouraged because we don’t know whether they were armed and how formidable they are. We called a patrol vehicle, but the policemen said they were on special duty. We raced to Oshodi where we saw some soldiers who entered the tunnel and brought our two suspects. Four other persons were picked, but after explanation, they were not connected to the tunnel. The soldiers recovered many things in the tunnel, showing that the ritualists have been in the tunnel for a long time.”
An unconfirmed report claimed that the suspect told the soldiers that they used to drag early morning road users and those coming home at night into the tunnel.
A soldier said: “I think the suspects are ritualists. If they were ordinary thieves as they claimed, they would have been arrested since because victims would have narrated their ordeals to security agents and they would have been killed. With what we recovered in the tunnel, it shows that they are ritualists.
“They used to kill their victims for rituals. The police should do a thorough investigation to unravel if they are responsible for the stories of missing persons in the state. The angry mob wanted to kill them and burn them alive, but we want to hand them alive to the police for proper investigation”.
Ritual killers, based on investigations, hide under several guises to perpetuate their hideous acts. While some choose to kidnap their victims from various points, others pretend to be commercial bus operators who go on to pick unsuspecting commuters and end up taking them to their slaughter slabs, located either in a forest, underneath drainage, in uncompleted buildings or houses in deserted areas. Some others lay an ambush for victims returning late in deserted areas to pounce on them and have them decapitated.
Another modus operandi being deployed by these ritual killers is disguising as lunatics. Over the years, such individuals were discovered to be using tunnels and drains as dens for their activities. One of such den inhabited by such criminal elements was discovered along the Lagos-Abeokuta road and Ile Zik, along Agege Motor Road two years ago. Another was uncovered at Challenge Bus Stop, Mushin around the same period.
The ‘lunatics’ were found with sophisticated phones, four ATM cards and over 100 syringes with bloodstains. One of the suspects was lynched by an irate mob while two other accomplices were rescued by policemen from Area ‘D’ Command, Mushin.