Police free more than 300 men & boys held prisoner in Nigeria

World Today

Police free more than 300 men & boys held prisoner in Nigeria

Authorities describe it as a house of torture. They found hundreds of men and children in chains when they raided a building that housed an Islamic school in Northern Nigeria. Some of the victims were as young as five years old.

CGTN’S Daniella Pearson has our report, we caution you, some of the images are disturbing.

It’s not clear how long they’ve been held captive in Nigeria’s Kaduna city. There are hundreds of people. Some are men but most are boys aged from around five to their late teens.

According to local media reports, they’ve been tortured, starved and sexually abused. The sores on one boy’s back appears consistent with injuries inflicted by a whip.

“The children gathered here are from all over the country, across all over the country, some of them were even chained,” said Kaduna Police Commissioner Ali Janga. “They were used, dehumanized, you can see it yourself.”

The rescued children have been moved to a temporary camp at a stadium in Nigerian city of Kaduna. Some parents have already retrieved their children, but attempts to find all of the families are still underway.

Police report that the building where the captives were found houses an Islamic school. Seven people thought to be teachers were arrested in the raid on Thursday.

“This place is neither a rehab or an Islamic school because you can see it for yourselves,” Janga said. “Small children, some of then brought from our neighboring countries like Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana and the rest.”

Islamic schools, known as Almajiris, are common across the largely Muslim north. There have been numerous reports by the Nigeria media that the government plans to ban the schools.

For years, these institutions have been dogged by allegations of abuse. There are even accusations that some children have been forced to beg on the streets.