Police authorities in Ibadan, Oyo State in South-West Nigeria on Monday began the difficult process of exhuming bodies at the Soka killing forest preparatory to thorough forensic analysis.
About 20 decomposed bodies and some rescued 16 emaciated captives from an underground dungeon believed to be a ritual killing site last month, while shocked residents of the neighbourhood and police officers also discovered several decomposing bodies and body parts, hundreds of human skulls, old clothes, photographs and voter cards in the chamber.
Helping the police are forensic pathologists from the University College Hospital, Ibadan and the Nigeria Police from Abuja.
“Today, we have three different teams. We have the Oyo Police team, led by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, CID, Dasuki Galadachi; we have the CID from Force headquarters led by Babale Aminu with four others, including a forensic pathologist, Dr. Eze Nwom, who led the team of pathologists, with an anthropologist,” the Oyo State Police Command explained on Monday.
Superintendent of Police Olabisi Ilobanafor, the Public Relations Officer of the command, also added: “A professor, Dr. Olawoyin from the UCH, who is also with them, deals with anything about the throat to the head. They were sent here by the Inspector General of Police.
“We have forensic experts gathering evidence that would help ongoing investigations. They would also exhume some bodies that had been buried for forensic analysis.
“The analysis would also help those whose relations are missing to do DNA test so that anybody whose relatives might have been declared missing could go for forensic test so that it could assist in determining whether they are related to any of the dead,” she said.
She also explained that investigation has progressed well and that very soon, the report would be submitted, adding: “Today is the final stage of the exercise as police from Oyo had earlier visited and carried out series of investigations.
“After this, we shall be handing over the place to the state government who knows what else to be done with it.”
On the rumours that some people were still trapped in an undergorund chamber on the site, she said: “How can a human being survive underground for more than three weeks without food or drink? Where will they get power to charge the phone people have been saying someone was calling with?
“It is a mere rumour and figment of their imagination. People should not carry rumours that will have psychological effects on families of missing people,” she said.