Blood­thirsty Nige­ria cult killings spark fear

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Peo­ple cover their noses at the stench of death in the Crys­tal Church of God in Owode Onirin, just out­side La­gos, where bloody clothes, drums, bibles and hymn books still lit­ter the bare floor. Three days ear­lier, four wor­ship­pers were killed as they prayed, in the lat­est mur­ders blamed on a shad­owy gang dubbed the Badoo, be­lieved to have killed 30 peo­ple since June last year. So-called “cult killings”-gang vi­o­lence of­ten fu­elled by drugs and be­lief in black magi­care not a new phe­nom­e­non in Nige­ria, which is nearly evenly split be­tween a Mus­lim north and Chris­tian south.

Crime of­ten spikes dur­ing times of eco­nomic hard­ship. But the mur­ders by the Badoo are mak­ing head­lines be­cause of their in­creas­ing fre­quency and the man­ner in which vic­tims are dis­patched. “They must have scaled the fence and hyp­no­tized the vic­tims be­fore car­ry­ing out their deadly act,” Is­rael Ojo­baro, an en­gi­neer who lives on the church premises, said.

“Two women and two chil­dren, in­clud­ing a nine-month-old baby, had their heads smashed with a grind­ing stone.” The gang then moved to an­other church on the same street to steal money and mo­bile phones. “They must have used (magic) charms as no one no­ticed when they en­tered the church. By the time the wor­ship­pers were awake, their phones and money had been taken away,” said church head Taiwo Ade­sanya.

Drain vic­tims’ blood

Fear and a lack of faith in the po­lice to pro­tect them has prompted res­i­dents to watch over their com­mu­ni­ties. Ev­ery night, bon­fires are lit on the streets be­tween 10:00 pm and 6:00 am. Any­one caught on sus­pi­cion of be­ing a mem­ber of the gang is im­me­di­ately lynched, lo­cals said. Po­lice say vig­i­lantes have killed at least 10 sus­pects in the last month. In­no­cent peo­ple have been tar­geted. The Badoo saga started last year when a fe­male school­teacher was raped and

killed in the Ibeshe area of Ikorodu, which lies 10 kilo­me­ters from La­gos across the la­goon as the crow flies. The woman’s skull was smashed with a stone. Be­fore leav­ing, the gang wrote “Badoo” on the wall. Since then, there have been sim­i­lar killings across the town. Mem­bers of the gang are be­lieved to have mag­i­cal pow­ers which they use to mys­te­ri­ously ap­pear and dis­ap­pear dur­ing at­tacks. — AFP

LA­GOS: Head of Ce­lestrail Church of Christ at the neigh­bor­hood Prophet Taiwo Ade­sanya stands in front of a church in La­gos.—AFP

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