500 Youths Freed From a Nigerian Islamic School, They Were Chained and Raped

Published October 15th, 2019 - 11:43 GMT
Nigerian police rescue hundreds from another 'torture house' (Twitter)
Nigerian police rescue hundreds from another 'torture house' (Twitter)
'Some of the inmates escaped while...about 60 of them stayed back,' he said, with most of them found in chains.

More than 300 young men have been freed from a second Nigerian Islamic boarding school where they were chained up and raped, following a similar raid last month. 

Police descended on the school in Daura in the northern Katsina state after some of the men managed to escape on Sunday and poured into the streets in protest.

The men were shackled and tortured at the school where they had been enrolled by their families to learn the Koran. Many had also been sent there to be treated for drug addiction.

The news comes after nearly 500 men and young boys were freed from an Islamic boarding school in Kaduna, around 280 miles south of Daura, where students had been chained, hung from the ceiling and beaten, authorities said. 

'We learnt that the inmates here are over 300 and because of the inhuman treatments they are being subjected to they revolted yesterday (Sunday),' Katsina police chief Sanusi Buba 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 Koran and be treated for drug addiction and other ailments.

Daura which lies 45 miles 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.

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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'.  

On September 26, in nearby Kaduna state, police discovered nearly 500 men and young boys standing in rows wearing ankle shackles, while others had their hands chained. Other photos show the torture victims with horrific scars on their backs.  

One victim even claimed that previous students had died from being tortured. 

Parents have since been reunited with some of the children rescued by police at the Hajj transit camp. 

Police said the detainees were from Burkina Faso, Mali and other African countries. 

The victims, including adults and minors, were kept in 'the most debasing and inhuman conditions in the name of teaching them the Koran and reforming them', Kaduna state police spokesman Yakubu Sabo said. 

Bello Hamza, 42, told The Nigerian Tribune: 'I have spent three months here with chains on my legs. I am supposed to be pursuing my Masters in University Pretoria South Africa. I got admission to study Applied Mathematics, but here I am chained.

'They claim to be teaching us Quran and Islam, but they do a lot of things here. They subject the younger ones to homosexuality.

'This is supposed to be an Islamic centre, but trying to run away from here attracts severe punishment; they tie people and hang them to the ceiling for that, but engaging in homosexuality attracts no punishment.' 

Police had been tipped off by complaints from local residents who became suspicious of what was happening inside the school.

During the raid on the school, police said they found a 'torture chamber' where students were chained, hung and beaten. 

The school, which has been operating for a decade, enrolled students brought by their families to learn the Koran and be rehabilitated from drug abuse and other illnesses, police said.

The proprietor of the school and six staff were arrested during the raid.

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.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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