On April 26, 2021, Italian police targeted the Nigerian Black Axe mafia and arrested 30 suspected members for operating the mafia syndicate. The members have been charged with people and drug trafficking, mafia association, prostitution, and cyber fraud and face about 100 other charges.
Police alleged that most of their crimes occurred online. The suspects allegedly used Bitcoin cryptocurrency on the dark web to duplicate credit cards and used them to make purchases.
According to Reuters’ reporting, the police arrested the suspected leader of the mafia, a 35-year-old man living in the central Abruzzo region. The police did not release his name.
The police targeted these individuals because evidence shows that the members “had a direct connection with the Nigerian gang, drawing on the same vocabulary, symbols and affiliation rituals,” police said.
The arrests come as a part of an anti-corruption operation in southern Italy to target mafia members and organized crime families.
The Black Axe is a secret society that emerged in 1970 to liberate the black race and create a new Black Movement. Over time, the Black Axe diverted from their political ideology to being accused of carrying out violent attacks. They have been dubbed “mafia” due to their organizational structure, use of code words, establishment of a weapon of choice, and having a representative color. Members are offered protection from potential violent attacks from other gangs.
The Nigerian government has banned these secret societies and has continued to arrest members; nevertheless, they continue to operate.
The current issue of the IELR will have a more comprehensive discussion of the arrest and the developments concerning the Black Axe.