Police in Nigeria have discovered 20 mummified bodies including those of children in a building in Benin City, in a case that has shocked the country.
Three suspects were arrested during the raid in southern Nigeria, Jennifer Iwegbu, a police spokesperson said in a statement late Wednesday. Armed police officers raided the building in Benin City, the capital of Edo state, acting on intelligence that it was a “suspected ritual shrine”, she said.
“Fifteen mummified male corpses, three mummified female corpses and two mummified children corpses were discovered at the scene”, just three miles (5km) from the city centre, said Iwegbu.
Nigeria’s security forces have in the past uncovered such shrines used by ritualists and kidnappers, but the latest discovery is one of the most shocking in recent years considering the number of victims.
Many residents arrived at the building expressing horror over what seemed to have been an operation hidden away from the eyes of even nearby neighbours.
It is not immediately clear how long the bodies had been in the building and the suspects were being interrogated, the police said. All three were young men, and a police medical team was part of the investigations, Iwegbu said.
“An intensive effort is ongoing to arrest the other fleeing suspects,” she added.