Operation of the Dda of Bari: the charges are of trats of human beings, enslavement, fights, extortion, robbery, sexual violence and exploitation of prostitution.
Trafficking in human beings, enslavement, fights, extortion, robbery, sexual violence and exploitation of prostitution: these are some of the crimes attributable to the 32 people arrested this morning by state police officers.
The arrests took place in the early hours of the morning in Puglia, and at the same time also in Sicily, Campania, Calabria, Marche, Basilicata, Lazio, Emilia Romagna, Veneto and abroad, thanks to the coordination of the Central Operational Service on the national territory and to the activities of international cooperation conducted by the Interpol Division in Germany, France, Holland and Malta.
The detention order in prison was issued by the magistrate of the Court of Bari at the request of the local Public Prosecutor's Office – District Anti-Mafia Directorate, against 32 people of Nigerian nationality, held responsible, with various roles, for mafia association aimed at facilitation of illegal immigration, trafficking in human beings, enslavement, extortion, robbery, personal injury, sexual violence, the use of weapons and the exploitation of prostitution and begging.
This is the operation on the Nigerian mafia with the highest number of arrested in Italy.
The suspects – Trinity Gbidy, 23, Omoti Ernest from 21 years, Omoti Benjamin 27 years, God Win Christian 21 years, Achokwu Kenet 28 years, Godday Okoh 35 years, Ilegbunam Ebuka 26 years, Okoinemin Benjamin 26 years, Obinyan Timothy 32 years, Augustine John 24 years, Obi Solomon of 27 years, Paul God Day of 22 years, Obazelu Favour of 40 years, Ogboi Monday of 29 years, Agedu Gods Pawara of 29 years, Victor Sunday of 24 years, Omobido Abibu of 25 years, Thomas Harrison of 32 years, Ahmed Shaban of years 29, John Vincent of years 25, Akhabue Richard of years 28, Osazvwa Felix of years 31, John Nosa of years 33, Opaleye Olatunde of years 38, Oghoruyi Osas O of years 29, Sunday Otaniyen of years 34, Maxwell Peter of years 28, Oni Iyobor, 39, Dickson Uwa, 27, Godwin Blessing, 33, Osawamwenze Igbinosa Kate, 47, Osakpmwan Tracy, 29 – all accused of being part of, along with many other unidentified people, of two distinct mafia-type criminal associations, of a cultist nature, operating in the p ruin of Bari as autonomous cells of the international brotherhoods called "Supreme Vikings Confraternity – Arobaga" and "Supreme Eiye Confraternity", which have acted for a long time in order to gain dominance over the Bari territory and to manage their illicit affairs.
The investigations of the Bari Flying Squad started from complaints made, at the end of 2016, by two Nigerian citizens hosted by the Asylum Seekers Reception Center of Bari, who declared that they had been the victim of beatings, robberies and repeated attempts at conditioning to be 'enrolled' in the ranks of a criminal group that was expanding its influence within the Center, later discovered to be the one of the CDs "Vikings". The details contained in the complaints made it possible to understand that many of the violence committed by the Nigerian guests of the C.A.R.A. in the following months they were not isolated cases, but were inserted in a context of clashes between the two main criminal gangs present there, that of the "Vikings" and that of the "Eyie", the first more numerous and more violent than the second. Both recruited new followers through cruel initiation rites consisting of 'courage tests', to try to prevail over one another and commit violence, reprisals and physical punishment (the so-called 'Drill', which gave its name to today's operation police force).
Both teams were characterized by the solidity of the associative bond, the planning of crimes of various kinds and for a widespread and constant control by the 'heads' for the respect of the roles and rules, with the application of bloody methods punitive whenever it is necessary to restore the compromised balance. The two groups have demonstrated that they possess a rudimentary structure with regard to the means employed, but very solid from the point of view of ideology, organization and crimes to pursue, without seeking in any way adhesions with the local mafias (giving proof, as regards the exploitation of prostitution, of supremacy also towards the gangs composed of Albanians and Romanians).
There have been cases of unprecedented violence against those who did not agree to join the brotherhoods or who did not respect the rules. The victims told investigators of real beatings, whipping, punching, kicking and beatings with the use of bars, clubs and bottle shards. With regard to Nigerian women, in particular, the psychological harassment reserved to a lower class also emerged, good only to satisfy the sexual needs of the male community and, above all, to produce money through the exploitation of prostitution; in this sense, for example, the figure of the cd. "Blue queen", women considered a product of exclusive property of the "Eyie" group after having sexually granted to the heads and destined to manage, on their behalf, the young prostitutes brought into the C.A.R.A.
One of the main illegal activities conducted by the mafia associations in question was precisely that of the exploitation of prostitution. We recall, for example, the case of trafficking and enslavement of a Nigerian woman run by one of the suspects, Victor Sunday who, after accompanying her on one of the many boats of illegal immigrants who come to Italy from Libya and had her illegally entered in the CARA, he forced her to prostitute herself and deliver the revenues to the group; to her rebellion, the woman was punished with repeated physical violence, up to turning on the outbreak of a real fight between gangs on March 22, 2017. Together with her, the companion was also punished.
Numerous similar cases were recorded during the investigations. The telephone interception services and the feedback on the territory have ascertained that one of the main interests of the criminal gangs was that of letting their compatriots enter the reception center clandestinely and have them prostitute themselves and if, in an initial phase, it was noticed that this practice was managed only within the CARA, later on it was understood that the criminals provided prostitutes to customers even outside the structure, in the streets or in the city dwellings.
To this end, in fact, the members of the cultist-derived groups "Vikings" and the "Eiye" have extended to occupy buildings in this center, used for prostitution, as well as the streets on which to place the young victims to be prostituted. An "enslavement" of the Nigerian "mamans" who operate locally to the requests of the two gangs regarding the need to "place" girls in the street to make them prostitute has also occurred.
Another delinquent activity carried out by the two associations was the exploitation of Nigerians who beg in front of supermarkets and other businesses in Bari and its province. Also in this case, the telephone interception services have outlined a cross-section of life and crime within the clearly defined Nigerian community, moreover also comforted by the words of the victims who confirmed to the investigators the submission to the payment of the 'lace' on their poor revenues, with delivery of money to members of the gangs or with telephone top-ups on their users.
The police investigations, coordinated by the DDA of Bari, have shed light on both the associative phenomenon as a whole, and on the individual and serious facts that have plagued the territory of Bari in recent years, determining also a considerable social alarm and dangers for the order and public safety. The incidents that caused a very serious social alarm were first treated individually. Their understanding and their inclusion in a more complex and articulated framework were only possible thanks to the creation of a team of investigators dedicated to the observation of the phenomenon. The stabbing of a Nigerian woman in January 2017, the aforementioned fight of 22 March 2017 with serious injuries of some of the participants, another clash within the C.A.R.A. of May 8, 2017, in which one of the Nigerian coroners belonging to the "Vikings" group lost their lives, and again a brawl in the same year on the streets of the Libertà district and a group rape committed within the C.A.R.A. against a Nigerian girl in March 2017, are just some of the violent episodes that occurred in the capital and that characterized the continuing conflict between the two criminal groups.
Among other things, the data gradually acquired at the investigations proved to be perfectly superimposable to the investigative results that, in the meantime, many other Mobile Teams in Italy have developed in that period, confirming the fact that the Nigerian mafia has taken root the many areas of the national territory (from Veneto to Sicily, from Piedmont to Campania, from the Marche to Puglia) with numerous settlements of cultist-inspired cells, all dedicated to pursuing the same delinquent objectives and all operating according to the classic mafia-style methods based on violence, to subjugation and conspiracy of silence.
Already in 2011 the Nigerian Embassy in Rome issued a note in which it read "new criminal activity of a group of Nigerians belonging to secret sects, prohibited by the government due to violent acts: unfortunately former members were able to enter Italy and have founded the organization here again, mainly for criminal purposes ”.
The voluminous crime report filed by the Flying Squadron at the Public Prosecutor's Office in April 2019, in which responsibilities for various types of 50 Nigerian citizens for the crimes described above were identified, clearly highlighted the organizational forms of the two criminal associations.
The relationship between the beggars and the heads of the organizations that demanded from them the bribe on the proceeds of the alms in front of the supermarkets has been shown to be a place of subjection. the poor beggars called their extortionists "Lords".
But the most characteristic element of the mafia methodology is represented by the sanctioning power, which imposes a punishment (drill) on those who do not comply with the rules of the association, that is, they do not become part of it when requested, they do not undertake to pay the periodical membership fee, does not prostitute himself and, in general, does not comply with the directives of the leaders.
Today's precautionary provision comes at the end of about two years of laborious investigation (2016-2018) in which the investigators of the Extracomunitary and Prostitution Crime Contrast Section have painstakingly reconstructed the network of relations between numerous Nigerian citizens settled in Bari and the province, both inside and outside the CARA, often in an irregular position on the national territory.
Completed the preparatory activities for the tracing of the suspects, in today's night in Bari and in the provinces of Taranto, Lecce, Caserta, Rome, Ancona, Matera, Reggio Emilia, Cosenza, Trapani and Rovigo have been carried out the catches, and at the same time the collateral offices Foreign Police have been interested by Interpol to execute the European arrest warrants signed by the Judge for Preliminary Investigations of Bari.