Nigerian police unearth robbers' corpse-filled lair

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 19, 2011 6:04 AM
Nigerian police unearth robbers' corpse-filled lair

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian police have uncovered 20 corpses hidden in a tunnel in the southeastern town of Onitsha, and suspect they were victims of armed robbers.

Police said they happened upon the hideout on Saturday while responding to an attempted sexual assault in Onitsha's Upper Iweka district, where commuters are often prey to muggers riding motorbike taxis known by the trade name Okada.

"The 20 corpses were at different stages of decomposition. Some have become skeletons," said Onuora Ikonso, head of the state police task force.

"We suspect the bodies are victims of armed robbery attacks and were dragged into the tunnel, waylaid and killed."

He called on the local government to extend an Okada curfew, which currently begins at 7 p.m., "to ensure the safety of travelers."

Onitsha is a busy trading port on the banks of the Niger river in southeastern Anambra state, north of the oil-producing wetland swamps of the Niger Delta.

(Reporting by Ijeoma Ezekwere; writing by Joe Brock; editing by Dan Williams)