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Nigerian mafia leaders arrested after Hawks swoop in Cape Town

Leaders of a large transnational Nigerian confraternity cult group popularly known as Black Axe were arrested in early morning raids which happened in Cape Town on Tuesday.

News correspondents gathered that six masterminds of the Black Axe cult Cape Town chapter were arrested in a collaborative operation involving the Hawks and United States law-enforcement agencies.

Another member of the criminal group, who is not part of the leadership hierarchy of the organisation, was also arrested during the raid. The operatives believed that another man who was linked to the Black Axe organisation was also arrested for committing a separate, but related crime. 

The founder of the Black Axe “Cape Town Zone” was among those arrested, according to a report released by TimesLive news correspondents.

The group is said to be responsible of hundreds of thousands of “romance scams”. These crimes were committed by members of the group who used dating sites to meet elderly men and women from all over the world, with widowed or divorced, then dispossess them out of their hard earned money.

The confraternity members were also arrested over they involvement scamming companies of millions of rand using a business email compromise scam. 

The scams are sophisticated and have highly organised Nigerian syndicate members, operating mainly from the Table View area along Cape Town’s west coast, posing as wealthy pensioners looking for love. 

Black Axe had earlier positioned itself as a group aimed to emancipate black people all over the world. However, it was soon declared a cult group and banned under Nigerian law after it became synonymous with criminal activity across the world.

Law-enforcement sources told News correspondents the Black Axe has a strong presence in South Africa. They members often get married to South African ladies to get residency or citizenship, making it easier for them to access countries including Canada, the US, the UK and Germany.

The group also has a strong presence in Italy where the country's government had previously apprehended several members this year. The group is alleged to work closely with the Camorra, one of the biggest Italian mafia groups, in other illicit activities including the drug trade and human trafficking.

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