ABUJA – Police have freed around 70 people who were chained up and tortured at an Islamic boarding school in northern Nigeria.
Men and boys, aged seven to 40, were reportedly subjected to “inhuman treatment” including sexual abuse at the school in the city of Daura, in the northern state of Katsina.
Police spokesman Sanusi Buba said that officers found “67 people between seven and 40 years” in chains and that more than 200 others had managed to escape.
“The inmates are more than 300, but due to the sordid and inhuman treatment they are subjected to, they started a riot (Sunday),” he said in a statement on Monday.
“Some of the prisoners escaped while those you are seeing here, about 60 of them were left behind.”
A cleric at the center, aged 78, was arrested on Monday along with two other suspects, accused of torture and sexually abusing the captives, according to police sources.
One of the victims Abubakar Saminu, 16, of Yobe state, told The Punch Nigerian newspaper: “My parents brought me here because they thought it would cure me of my impulse to steal things.
“But here they beat us, starved us and subjected us to inhuman conditions.”
The raid in Katsina came a few weeks after Nigerian police released another 300 young people and children, some in ankle chains, from another Koranic school in the neighboring state of Kaduna, who had also reportedly been tortured and sexually abused.