The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) says it has arrested 75 persons linked to Black Axe, one of Nigeria’s biggest cult groups.
In a report published on Friday, Interpol said it coordinated a global operation, codenamed ‘Operation Jackal’, specifically against Black Axe.
The operation involved 14 countries across four continents from September 26 to September 30, 2022.The international police described the group as one that is “rapidly becoming a major security threat worldwide”.
“Black Axe and similar groups are responsible for the majority of the world’s cyber-enabled financial fraud as well as many other serious crimes, according to evidence analyzed by Interpol’s Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre (IFCACC) and national law enforcement,” the report reads.
“In South Africa alone, the two suspects arrested were wanted for online scams that extracted USD 1.8 million from victims.
“In Italy, the Carabinieri made three arrests in Campobasso within the framework of the operation.
Interpol said in the course of the operation, 49 properties were searched, 75 arrests made, and 1.2 million Euro intercepted in bank accounts.
“The immense quantity of assets seized, including 12,000 SIM cards, have provided new investigative leads for law enforcement, generating 13 analytical reports and allowing police to identify more than 70 additional suspects,” the report reads.
“The lavish lifestyles and greed of many suspects – allegedly paid for by defrauding members of the public of their savings and other criminal activities – was on clear display at the scenes of their arrest.
“Various luxury assets were seized, including a residential property, three cars and tens of thousands in cash.”
Stephen Kavanagh, executive director of police services, Interpol, said: “Illicit financial funds are the lifeblood of transnational organized crime, and we have witnessed how groups like Black Axe will channel money gained from online financial scams into other crime areas, such as drugs and human trafficking.
“These groups demand a global response.”