One of the victims that were rescued by the police at Soka forest, Ibadan, Oyo State, which is believed to be a ritual killers’ den, said she was kidnapped in September 2013.
The victim, whose name is being withheld for security purpose, is currently recuperating with seven other victims in Adeoyo Hospital, Ibadan
No fewer than 20 decomposing bodies were discovered in the forest on Saturday, while about 23 others were rescued alive.
They were taken to different hospitals in the city, with eight of them – four men and four women – in Adeoyo Hospital.
The woman, who was still weak from her experience, told PUNCH Metro that she knew she left her home in September and since then could not remember anything until Saturday when she was rescued.
She said, “I remember that I left my home in Okebola and was going to Challenge. I entered a taxi and that is the only thing I can remember until police rescued us yesterday (Saturday).”
When asked whether she did not see her captors killing people and selling their parts, she said, “I think such thing happened, but it did not really register because my mind was blank.
|One of the rescued victims kidnapped from |
Edo state since 2008
At this point, the victim countenance changed as if she went into a trance. Many questions asked by our correspondent went unanswered.
PUNCN Metro also observed that other victims were yet to regain their full strength.
They muttered words that were disjointed, but the nurses said they would regain full mental and physical ability.
They said two days of treatment was not enough to cure them completely, having been chained and maltreated for a long time.
No doctor was around to attend to our correspondent, but it was gathered that two of the victims were able to give their names.
Families, youths visit forest
Families whose members had been missing on Sunday besieged the forest where captives, skulls and decomposing bodies were found with the hope of finding them there.
One of such is the Oguntade family. The family spokesman, Kehinde, said their father, Isaac Oguntade, 95, left home in the Gbongan area of Osun State on December 31, 2013, but never returned.
“He is an old man, but still strong. He was a retired teacher and he was going to a bank on Osogbo Road on the day we last saw him.
“We have searched everywhere in vain. When we heard of this discovery, we came down to see if our father could be one of the victims, but we could not find him here,” said Kehinde.
A police report, dated January 14, 2014 and signed by one Inspector Akinlade Lawrence, confirmed his claim.
Also, hundreds of angry youths visited the forest, unleashing mayhem on visitors and herdsmen who graze their cattle in the area.
Our correspondent, who visited the forest on Sunday, saw the youths slaughtering and sharing cow meat and vandalising vehicles.
One of such vehicles with Lagos number plate, MK 126 AAA, belongs to a presenter with Splash FM. He also sustained injury with a deep cut on his head.
The youth also attacked security men of a company situated close to the area of the discovery. At the junction linking the road to the narrow forest, a man had been burnt to death. Eyewitnesses said he was linked to the operators of the camp.
A large number of adult and kids clothes and shoes were at the scene, while mats and other household items were found inside some of the rooms in the building where the captives were reportedly kept.
However, a statement from the Oyo State Police Command stated that a man had been arrested in connection with the discovery, while arms and ammunition were also discovered at the scene.
It reads in part, “Incident report on murder/ unlawful possession of firearms about 1730 hrs yesterday (Saturday). Information received at tollgate division that behind the Oyo State urban mass transport yard, Soka area Ibadan, some area boys, about 100, invaded the area, searching for two missing cyclists. They discovered an uncompleted compound where two women and five men were found chained and looking unkempt.
“Some decayed corpses and skeletons were also found in a nearby bush. The scene was visited and one Abideen Akanmu was arrested. He said he was employed by one Gbadamosi, now at large, to take care of the destitute found there. Victims evacuated to hospital, while a corpse was deposited at same hospital mortuary for autopsy.
“Five security men in a nearby company were also arrested and the following items were recovered from them – three single-barrelled gun, one bow, 16 arrows, 22 cutlasses, 40 life cartridges, seven table knives, two axes, two iron files and one phone.
“Angry mob set the security post ablaze but the fire was put out. The State Criminal Investigation Department is investigating the discovery.”
Residents who spoke to our correspondent said there was enough evidence to conclude that the place was for ritual killing.
One of them, who identified himself as Comrade Rasheed, said, “We have searched the whole forest and found strange things. There are decomposing bodies of people and more than 50 skulls.
“There are houses in the forest and no one lives there. We saw a man who claimed to be a student of a university, but on close examination, we found out that he was not mentally alright. The police should not conclude that the place is where mad people were treated.”
One of the volunteers, Abiodun Olaniyi, said a man approached them with a gun, but disappeared into the forest when he saw the huge crowd.
“A woman we found there said she had given birth to children for her captives. We rescued many people who were still alive and a dead body in the septic tank.
Another resident, Kolawole Falana, said,“I was hit with the butt of a gun by the police. They did not allow us to break a slab and see if people were kept underground.”