Nigerian authorities search for families of victims who were held in school

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Nigerian authorities stepped up efforts on Saturday to reach the families of hundreds of men and boys who had been held in a school, some chained to iron chains, while others were sexually assaulted and tortured.

Police released up to 400 detainees, aged between six and 50, from the building in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna state during a raid on Thursday. Some were chained, while others showed visible signs of whipping and other objects.

More than a dozen of them, including 10 children, were hospitalized on Saturday. All adults are in critical condition and one vomits blood.

Police have set up a temporary camp for the rest on the outskirts of the city and are currently registering them. Children lined up in front of a building inside the camp to register their names and then were seen laughing and playing before serving a plate of food.

Outside the camp, dozens of parents of children, anxious, stood waiting to take their children.

Kaduna State Police spokesman Jacob Sapo said the “inhumane treatment” police discovered had made it impossible to regard the building as an Islamic school.

Local media reported that some children were tortured, beaten with clubs and even sexually assaulted. Reuters has so far been unable to verify the reports.

Hafsa Mohammad Baba, commissioner for humanitarian services and social development in the state, told Reuters that the number of enrolled in this school only 190, including 113 adults and 77 children. The cause of the conflict was not immediately known, but authorities said some of those freed had fled immediately.

Police raided the school after a relative was denied entry. Police arrested seven people they said were teachers at the school.

Police appealed to families across Kaduna, Ghana, Mali and neighboring Burkina Faso to come to hand over their relatives who were in custody. Despite abuses, some of them appeared reluctant to return to his family.

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