The Plateau State Police Command on Saturday said it has arrested 13 suspected cultists in Jos, the state capital.
The Commissioner of Police, Bartholomew Onyeka, in a statement issued to journalists in Jos, said the 13 youths were arrested at the Down Base area of ECWA Staff School, Farin-Gada following a sting operation by the police.
He said the suspects were undergoing questioning and investigation to determine who they were and to authenticate the veracity of their claim of being innocent hikers.
Following their arrest, there were lots of accusations on social media platforms that the suspects were hikers but the police said after a thorough investigation, “The (13) persons (12 males and one female) were arrested in a cave referred to as “Rock Number One” used by secret cult groups for initiation and other nefarious activities.
“Upon their arrest, the suspects claimed that they were out for hiking, but preliminary police investigations and information from vigilantes and other community leaders in the area revealed that before any hiking activity took place, the traditional rulers and the vigilantes were always informed.
“And the suspects neither sought nor got the nod of the traditional rulers or vigilantes of ECWA Staff community thus raising suspicions on their activities at the cave, especially after the fact that kidnappers have been plundering the community.
“The suspects were taken to custody and immediately handed over to the anti-cult unit of the command for further investigation.
“A search warrant was executed in their various houses and premises and some dry leaves suspected to be Indian hemp and a military camouflage face cap were recovered hence, the suspects were charged to court for prosecution on Monday, the 15th of August, 2022.
“The exhibits recovered from the execution of the search warrant will be tendered in court as evidence,” the commissioner added.