No fewer than 15 Nigerian cultists have been arrested by the Italian Police, known as Polizia di Stato.
Those arrested reportedly belonged to members of the deadly ‘Eiye’ confraternity.
A statement from the Italian police said the suspected cultists were arrested on Tuesday in an operation dubbed “Pesha.”
Members of the gang were also accused of intimidating young girls into prostitution, money laundering, among others.
The police report that the ‘Eiye’ cultists, which had roots in Nigeria, had a series of international contacts in France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, and other European countries.
The police reportedly acted on a tip-off from a disgruntled member of the group who was brutalised after violating some of the codes of the cult.
Four of the cultists were said to have escaped while 15 were arrested in the operation.
According to the statement, the 15 people detained by order of the L’Aquila District Anti-Mafia Directorate were of Nigerian nationality.
It added that all those arrested belonged to the “Pesha” cell which had its influence on the entire Adriatic coastal area from Teramo to Ancona.
The police stated that the number of crimes committed by members of the mafia organization was impressive, which included money laundering and illegal financial inter-mediation towards Nigeria; trafficking in young women sexually exploited along the Bonifica del Tronto road and subjected to violence and harassment; drug supply; violent crimes against members of other groups or punitive towards other compatriots.