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02.12.2021 Featured Rape, Torture, Murder… Experience of Lady Who Spent 8 Months in Ritualists’ Den

Published 2nd Dec, 2021

By Yakubu Mohammed

Mercy, 24, an escapee from the ritualists’ den, has narrated her ordeal with criminals who lured her and a friend from Benin to Lagos with an Italian visa in October 2020.

After spending almost a year in captivity, Mercy, her friend and three other captives fled from an unidentified forest in June 2021. Unfortunately, she lost her friend in the process.

READ ALSO: UNDERCOVER: Ondo, Osun, Ekiti… Inside Kidnappers’ Dens Where Victims Are Camped and Ransoms Are Negotiated

Mercy told FIJ she was tortured, raped and impregnated during her stay with ritualists. She had a baby on November 26, five months after regaining freedom.

She had spent almost the entire five months roaming the streets of Lagos, sleeping in uncompleted buildings, before she met a woman that took her home. Subsequently, she went to meet her sister in Warri.

ROAD TO LAGOS, ROAD TO THE BUSH

Mercy and her late friend left Benin in October 2020 to meet the latter’s ‘boyfriend’, whom she had met online. The unnamed man had promised to fly them to Italy for a job.

Eager to travel abroad, they left Benin without informing any relatives. When they arrived in Lagos, they were taken to an unidentified area on the mainland, from where they were later taken to the bush.

“We arrived in Lagos during the period of #EndSARS in October 2020,” Mercy told FIJ, finding it hard to recall the name of the guy they had gone to meet. “When we met with the guy, he was with his friends, and they took us to a house on the mainland.”

READ ALSO: SPECIAL REPORT: In Niger, Working as Informants for Bandits Is a Lucrative Side Hustle

They were served food and drinks, and their abductors told them they would get their passport and visa to Italy in the evening. Mercy and her friend woke up to find themselves in an unknown thick forest, amidst men in masks and with guns.

KILLINGS, TRAFFICKING AND RAPE IN THE BUSH

In the forest where Mercy, her friend and tens of other girls were camped, a lot of things happened. Girls were raped, killed and trafficked to unknown destinations.

Mercy hoped the criminals would ask them to call relatives that would pay ransoms. But their abductors, unlike kidnappers, did not ask for ransoms. They kept them and raped them to produce babies for rituals. 

Mercy told FIJ she was raped several times by the ritualists.

“Some days, unknown men came to the bush and went away with an unspecified number of girls,” Mercy told FIJ. “Some of the girls died in the bush and their bodies were taken away by these men.” 

READ ALSO: Murdered OAU MBA Student Planned to Relocate His Family Abroad, Reveals Wife

She said most of the girls died from hunger, dehydration and severe torture. “They did not give us food regularly, not even water. Some people died as a result of hunger and the hard punishments they went through.”

Mercy recalled a woman who died during labour. She had been raped and impregnated. “Both her body and baby were given to the men who usually visited the bush,” she said. 

When asked the language her abductors spoke, Mercy said the majority spoke English while others spoke French. She sensed that the bush they were kept in might be around Benin Repulic or Burkina Faso.

Girls who tried to run away from the bush were shot dead. In the forest, the blood of innocent girls was being shed daily. 

THE ESCAPE 

Luckily, after eight months in the unknown forest, Mercy, her friend and three other girls escaped.

Mercy said they ran for hours before they could get to a highway. They did not care about their location. They just wanted to be safe.

“We ran into a truck driver who helped us to Lagos after spending two days on the road”, Mercy told FIJ. “The driver brought us food when we got to a park in Lagos, and from there, everyone went their ways.” At that time, Mercy was already heavily pregnant. 

READ ALSO: Osun CP Details How Rahmon Adedoyin’s Son Supervised Shallow Burial of Murdered OAU MBA Student

While moving from one uncompleted building to the other, she thought of giving birth to the baby and taking it to a motherless home. 

When she arrived in Warri on November 25, 2021, a friend saw her and informed her aunt.

“I thank God she came to Warri; she could have lost her life in the process,” Mercy’s aunt told FIJ.

“I took her to the hospital the next day and she gave birth through surgery.”

But Mercy surfers from the incident, said her aunt. “Her mental health is bad, as she often cries from sleep, saying her abductors are after her life.”

Published 2nd Dec, 2021

By Yakubu Mohammed

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