Police in Nigeria are trying to reunite dozens of men and boys with their families this week after rescuing them from an Islamic school where they had been “shackled with chains” and subjected to “various inhuman and degrading treatments,” according to reports.
The nearly 70 victims were freed from the facility in Katsina on Saturday as police arrested a 78-year-old man for running what they described as an “illegal detention/remand home,” according to Reuters.
“In the course of the investigation, sixty-seven persons from the ages of 7 to 40 years were found shackled with chains,” Sanusi Buba, a local police spokesperson, said in a statement. “Victims were also found to have been subjected to various inhuman and degrading treatments.”
A trader who lived near the property told Reuters that families sent their men and boys there under the belief it was an Islamic school that would help them correct their behavioral problems.
But one captive said he instead witnessed sexual assaults, beatings and deaths inside its grounds during his two-year stay there.
“They were just beating, abusing and punishing us every day with the name of teaching us,” Lawal Ahmad said.
Police are now reported to be trying to reunite the victims with their families.
The rescue operation came weeks after Nigerian police saved nearly 300 men and boys from another building that was thought to be an Islamic school – where they also were held against their will and sexually abused, starved and tortured.
In that rescue -- in the northern city of Kaduna – children as young as 5 were among the victims.