Hundreds of boys have been rescued from what has been described as a Nigerian “torture house” that posed as an Islamic reform school. Activists say the revelation is an indication more children could be suffering abuses at similar schools nationwide.
Last week, police in the Kaduna state raided a supposed Islamic reform school and rehabilitation center after receiving a tip about suspicious activity. What the authorities found were children as young as 5, chained to metal railings with their feet shackled together.
According to the BBC, as many as 500 men and boys were freed from the facility as a result of the police raid. Many of the victims held captive at the facility showed signs of abuse, torture and starvation.
“The condition under which we found the victims was so dehumanizing, many of them were chained,” police spokesman Yakubu Sabo told The Associated Press.
Kaduna Police Chief Ali Janga described the facility as a “house of torture” and a place of human slavery. He told news outlets that eight suspects — most of whom were teachers — have been arrested.
“This place is neither a rehab or Islamic school,” Janga told the press. “You can see it for yourself.”
The children are now being sheltered at a stadium in Kaduna and are slated to be moved to another camp in the Kaduna suburb.
“The state government is currently providing food to the children who are between the ages of 5 and above,” Janga said, according to Reuters.
The victims have recounted their experiences of beatings, torture and sexual abuse inside the center. Many of the children were enrolled in the center by relatives.
One boy appeared to have scars consistent with having been struck with a whip.
“I have spent three months here with chains on my legs,” victim Bell Hamza reportedly told Nigerian press, according to the BBC. “This is supposed to be an Islamic center, but trying to run away from here attracts severe punishment; they tie people and hang them to the ceiling for that.”
Bell’s statement was seconded by fellow victim Abdalla Hamza.
“If they caught you if you want to run away from this place, they would hang you, they would chain you,” Hamza told AFP.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith