The Italian Police known as Polizia di Stato has, in an operation dubbed “Pesha”, arrested members of the ‘Eiye’ confraternity.
The Eiye group, with roots in nigeria, was accused of intimidating young girl into prostitution, money laundering, amongst others.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Italian Police Force said members of the group have a series of international contacts in France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, and other European countries.
Eiye is a mythological bird of the Nigerian tradition and members of the cult tend to be in it “for life” once initiated.
15 Nigerians and members of the group were arrested in their hideout while four others fled, after police got a tip-off from a disgruntled member who was brutalised after violating some of the codes of the cult.
The statement read in part, “The 15 people detained by order of the L’Aquila District Anti-Mafia Directorate are of Nigerian nationality.
“All those arrested belong to the “Pesha” cell which had its influence on the entire Adriatic coastal area from Teramo to Ancona.
“The number of crimes committed by members of the mafia organization is impressive: money laundering and illegal financial intermediation 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.”
The Police said the suspects have been detained at its headquarters in Teramo and would be prosecuted.