All the suspects were residents of MosunmorevVillage near Kobape in Abeokuta, the state capital.
The girls were aged between 10 and 13 while the male members were in their early teens; only their leader is 19 years of age. The police did not disclose their names.
The Baale of the community was said to have alerted the police, sequel to the alarm raised by one of the suspected girl’s mother.
Acting on the information, detectives attached to Owode-Egba Police Divisional Headquarters, led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Shehu Alao, swung into action and succeeded in smoking them out of their camp during initiation of another set of girls.
Police Commissioner, Ahmed Iliyasu, told reporters that “a woman raised alarm to the Baale of Mosunmore village near Kobape, here in Abeokuta, to the effect that her daughter went out late a day previous.
“Apparently disturbed by the said outing, the woman pestered her daughter who later confessed that she was initiated into a cult group, a development the woman found difficult to conceal to herself and alerted the community head who, in turn called in my men.
“Consequently, officers of Owode-Egba Division stormed the area and successfully apprehended the 13 youngsters in the process of initiating yet another set of underaged girls.
“The girls, all primary six school leavers, confessed to being lured into the group by the boys.”
Leader of the group known as “Penalty Guys”, 19-year-old Tunde Adio, told journalists how he was initiated by one Tosin, also a resident of the community in January, 2017.
He added that they came about their own group’s name during the last Easter celebration when his third-in-command, 13-year-old Adewale Raphael’s church was organizing a picnic.
According to Adio, “we decided to do customized vests, with the inscription ‘Penalty Guys’. This was what attracted the girls and they agreed to be initiated”.
Meanwhile, CP Iliyasu has ordered that the suspects be transferred to the Anti-Kidnapping and Cultism Unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) for further investigation and prosecution.
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