Hundreds of children allegedly chained, tortured and sexually assaulted at an Islamic school in Nigerian state of Kaduna have been sharing their horrific stories.
Police last week freed over 500 children, some as young as five before taking them into protective custody.
On Sunday police confirmed that the children have now been handed over to the Kaduna State Government for a reunion with their families.
According to officials the building where the kids were kept was raided after a tip-off about suspicious activity. Police described the facility as a “house of torture” and a place of human slavery.
Some of the children have now been sharing their stories living in such a treacherous facility with the media.
Torture and sexual abuse
One boy told Reuters that he was hung up by his arms until bones in his shoulders broke when he tried escaping at a point in time.
Another victim said “They used car engine belts and electrical cables to flog us.”
The 15-year-old was quoted as saying that “Teachers used to sexually harass us … They tried to loosen my pants once but I fought them off and was beaten.”
“They beat us everywhere in the house, even in the mosque. If you asked to speak with your family, they would shackle you.”
Another boy revealed that “the teachers and prefects raped boys. Those who were sexually molested were enticed with canned fish. Those of us who refused were caned. They used planks of wood to beat us.”
Over the weekend parents of some of these children protested against their release.
Although the children freed were happy, their parents are not as they back the activities of the Islamic school.
Mostly women, parents of these children protested openly, backing the operators of the school and their methods.
The agitated parents claimed the allegation by the police that their children were being sexually abused at the Islamic school was false.
Some of the mothers said there was nothing wrong with the Islamic school and questioned the decision of the police to raid the facility.
One mother told the Punch that “We are aware that they (children) are being punished whenever they do wrong because they are dangerous and stubborn children.
“There is nothing wrong with the school because we took our children there by ourselves. So, we don’t know why the police raided the place.”
Another mother said “We demand their release because the founder of the school, Mallam Ismail, is doing everything possible within Islamic teachings to rehabilitate them for us.”
The school reportedly charged parents fees of 35,000 naira ($114) a term. Eight suspects have been to assist with investigations.