Hundreds of men and boys are rescued from a construction in northern Nigeria where they were beaten, starved, sexually attacked and chained, authorities said Friday.
Visible marks in their bodies revealed that some were tortured, police spokesman Yakubu Sabo at Kaduna State told The Associated Press, as shocked police tried to monitor the households of what seemed to be several 400 victims.
Police completed the rescue on Thursday after a suggestion. It wasn’t immediately clear what resulted in authorities being touched, or the way such a huge extent of alleged abuses were able to go undetected.
Local television footage showed the majority of those victims in rather poor condition, with a few walking with trouble.
The building’s owner told police the kids were attracted by their own families to learn that the Quran or since they had issues like drug dependence. But authorities said the place wasn’t licensed to conduct any reformatory or instructional program.
The proprietor and six other people who have been said to be educators are detained, the police spokesman said.
Boys are seen begging on the streets in towns across mostly Muslim northern Nigeria. They frequently are sent off by their own families to get Quranic training but can be turned out on the roads by their new guardians to beg to make their keep.
The recently discovered abuses, police said Friday, were yet another level completely.
“The national government needs a scenario where each child of primary school age is at college instead of begging on the roads during school hours,” he explained. “At precisely the same time, we do not wish to create a backlash.”