When rival cult members targeted Kazeem Mudi, 21, killing his best friend in the process and razing his family house to the ground, he knew he was way above his head in trouble. He disclosed that when he joined the Arobaga Confraternity, he didn’t know the group had an ongoing war with the Black Axe Confraternity.
He soon realised he was in trouble when members of Black Axe kept appearing everywhere, trying to kill him. Mudi, who was alleged of being an armed robber, denied the allegation, insisting that he was just a cultist. He was the first, among other members of Arobaga Confraternity, to be arrested by the police.
He was arrested at Ayingba Market, after shooting sporadically into the air. He claimed to have stormed the market, to kill those that killed his best friend and burnt down his family home. But police said that he entered the market, armed with the gun and robbed traders. Recounting his story, Mudi said: “I joined Arobaga Confraternity in 2017. One of my friends, Rabiu, who is now dead, introduced me to the group. I didn’t know that the Arobagas had an ongoing war with members of the Black Axe Confraternity.
I was attacked by members of the Black Axe Confraternity the moment news got out that I was a member of Arobaga Confraternity.” Mudi further recalled: “My friend, Rabiu, was killed and my house burnt to the ground. I managed to escape. I later went to our leader, Oki and asked for a gun. I needed the gun because I wanted to avenge the death of my friend and the burning down of my house.
“When I learned that some members of the Black Axe Confraternity were at Ayingba Market Square, I went there with the gun Oki gave me. I shot at one of them when I sighted him. When I attempted to escape, the police showed up and arrested me. I took them to Oki’s house where he was arrested. Four other pistols were recovered.”
Mudi and members of his cult group were alleged by the police to be those that had been terrorising Ayinga community in Dekani Local Government Area of Kogi State. They were arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response, IRT.
Since their arrest, the suspects had maintained that they were not armed robbers, but cultists. The police said that five pistols, 15 rounds of 9mm live ammunition and assorted charms were recovered from the suspects. The suspects have been identified as Kazeem Mudi, Nasiru Yusuf, Riwa Aminu and Oki Yakubu. Yakubu has been alleged to be the leader of the gang.
The suspects said that they had been in a protracted battle of supremacy with Black Axe Confraternity, over the control of Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State. Yakubu said that the guns, ammunition and charms recovered from his house were those he and his group had been using in waging wars against their rivals.
A police source said: “The suspects have carried out several armed robberies and killings around Ayingba and other communities within Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State. The intelligence report, which led to their arrest emanated from the office of the Inspector-General of Police and passed on to the IRT, headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.
A crack team of operatives were deployed in Ayingba community to track down the suspects. The police discovered on arriving the community that the suspects were highly dangerous as they move around the community and its environs with guns, robbing and intimidating people.
A member of the gang, Kazeem Mudi, was arrested at Ayingba Market Square after he successfully robbed some traders in broad daylight of their cash and mobile phones at gunpoint. “He was arrested by IRT while attempting to escape from the market square.
The sound of gunfire after he opened fire while robbing his victim was what attracted the IRT operatives. He was arrested just as he was about to mount his getaway motorcycle. The gun used for the operation was recovered. He was interrogated and confessed that his gang members were in Oki community, waiting for him to bring home his loot from the robbery.“
He told us that his gang leader had more guns in his house. He was taken to the home of his gang leader, who when he sighted the police ran into the ceiling. He was chased out and arrested. The gang leader led the police to arrest two other members of the gang.
They confessed to have robbed an Igbo businessman in his shop recently using one of the guns recovered from the gang leader’s house. “I’m not worried that the suspects are claiming not to be armed robbers. It’s normal for criminals to change the veracity of their crime once they are caught with credible evidence so as to gain sympathy.”
While narrating how he and three other members of his gang robbed an Igbo businessman, who trades at Igiolo community, in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State, Nasiru Yusuf said: “I’m a member of the Arobaga Confraternity. I joined the group three years ago. I led three of my friends to rob a grocery shop belonging to an Igbo man at Ayingba.
It was my gang leader, Oki that gave me the gun for the operation. We took N100, 000 from the man and I got N20, 000 as my share. I ran away to Abuja when policemen came looking for me. They didn’t succeed in arresting me then. It was when I came back to Ayingba and visited Oki that the police arrested me.”
The alleged leader of the gang, Yakubu, said that he joined the Arobaga Confraternity due to oppression. He said: “Members of Black Axe Confraternity usually oppressed my friends and I. We then decided to join Arobaga Confraternity; and since then, we have been fighting. I own four of the pistols that were recovered from me. I bought them for my protection. The charms, which were recovered from my house, belonged to my late grandfather. I don’t use them for armed robbery. The Black Axe guys fighting us are very deadly. They have killed more than eight of my friends in the last two years. So we needed these guns for our protection.”