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'It's Like Living in Hellfire': Hundreds of Men and Boys Freed from 'Islamic' Torture House

09-30-2019
Image source: Adobe Stock
Image source: Adobe Stock

Hundreds of men and boys were rescued from a "torture house" in northern Nigeria that was advertised to be an Islamic school.

The BBC reports that police raided a building in Kaduna where nearly 500 men and boys were found chained, revealing signs of abuse and torture.

A message on the front of the building describes the property as Ahmad bin Hambal Centre, an Islamic school and correctional facility for young men with behavioral problems.

Isa Ibrahim survived the horrific conditions after being sent to the facility several weeks ago but says he has injuries all over his body. 

"Living there is very difficult. It's like living in hellfire. If you are praying they will beat you. If you are studying they will beat you. Anything you do they will beat you," the 29-year-old said.  

Families in this part of the country are mainly Muslim and can't afford to send their children to school. The children are sent to poorly regulated facilities like this one.

The building was not registered as a school or a correctional facility, but it did charge a fee to parents.

One parent said, "If we had known that this thing was happening in the school, we wouldn't have sent our children. We sent them to be people but they ended up being maltreated."

Children as young as five were rescued from the two-story structure that is surrounded by barbed wire and high walls.

The Daily Mail reports that police found a torture chamber during the raid where captives were chained, hung, and beaten. There were also reports that the men and boys had been starved and sexually abused.

Seven people and staff members have been arrested during the investigation. Government officials will continue to probe other institutions claiming to teach Koranic studies.

There have been multiple reports of abuse at other Koranic schools across northern Nigeria.

Hafsat Baba, Kaduna State Commissioner of Human Services and Social Development said, "This is an eye-opener for us. We have to map all the schools. And we have to make sure that if they violate the government orders then they have to be closed down completely."

"If we find any facility that is torturing children or is harboring these kind of horrific situations that we have just seen, they are going to be prosecuted," Bada added.

President Muhammadu Buhari was stunned by the abuse and appealed to religious leaders and authorities to "expose and stop all types of abuse that are widely known but ignored for many years by our communities."

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