Nigerian police rescue hundreds from another 'torture house'

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Police said on Saturday (October 19) they had freed nearly 150 students from a purported school in northern Nigeria that claimed it was teaching the Koran but had instead subjected them to abuse.
Men and boys are pictured after being rescued by police at a boarding school in Sabon Garin, Nigeria, on Oct 14, 2019. They were chained and sexually abused. PHOTO: REUTERS

KANO, NIGERIA (AFP) - Police in northern Nigeria said on Monday (Oct 14) they rescued over 300 young men from an Islamic boarding school where they were chained and sexually abused, the second such operation in a month.

A police team raided the school in Daura in Katsina state after some students escaped from their hostel on Sunday and poured into the streets in protest.

Katsina police chief Sanusi Buba told reporters in Daura that the young men were chained and tortured.

"We learnt that the inmates here are over 300 and because of the inhuman treatments they are being subjected to they revolted yesterday (Sunday)," he said.

"Some of the inmates escaped while...about 60 of them stayed back," he said, with most of them found in chains.

Buba said the school was established by 78-year-old Muslim cleric, Bello Mai Almajirai, 40 years ago. He later transferred management of the school to his son.

He said the school enrolled students brought by their families to learn the Quran and be treated for drug adduction and other ailments.

People with chained legs are pictured after being rescued by police in Sabon Garin, on Oct 14, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

Daura which lies 70km from the state capital and near the border with Niger, is the hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The students are from "various parts of Nigeria", including Katsina state and neighbouring Niger Republic, said the police chief.

According to Buba, the abused inmates were "subjected to inhuman conditions," with some of the students revealing that they were sodomised by their teachers.

Police will liaise with the state government to establish the identities of the young men and contact their families to return them home, he said.

Buba promised to arrest the proprietor and his teachers who managed to escape during the raid but will "face the full wrath of the law".

Last month, police in nearby Kaduna state, freed more than 300 male students from a similar boarding school where they were chained, tortured and sexually abused.

A high rate of drug use and lack of rehabilitation facilities in northern Nigeria are forcing parents to enrol their children in informal reformatory Islamic schools where they are subjected to abuses.

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