LAGOS, Nigeria – Hundreds of boys and men were rescued from a building in Northern Nigeria where they were beaten, starved, sexually assaulted and chained, police said on Friday.
Visible footprints on their bodies indicate that some had been tortured, police spokesman Yakubu Sabo in Kaduna state told the Associated Press as shocked authorities tried to track down the families of those 400 victims.
"The condition in which we found the victims was so dehumanizing, very much.
Police carried out the rescue on Thursday after a tip. It was not immediately clear what led to contact with police or how such a huge range of alleged abuse could remain.
Local television footage shows that most of the victims are in very poor condition, some walking with difficulty. [1
The owner and six others who are said to be teachers have been arrested, a police spokesman said.
Boys can be seen begging for streets in cities in much of northern Muslim Nigeria. They are often sent by their families for training to the Qur'an, but can then be turned on the streets by their new guardians to beg to win their preservation.
The newly discovered abuses, according to authorities on Friday, are entirely on another level.  Assistant to President Mohammadu Buhari, who comes from the north, earlier this year noted the widespread belief that beggary-related almagiri training was a "security challenge and a mark on the face of Northern Nigeria." "
But Assistant Garba Shehu rejected reports that the president had banned the system, saying that due process and consultation with the relevant authorities would be required.
"In fact, the federal government wants a situation where every primary school-age child is at school, not begging on the streets during class hours," he said. "At the same time, we don't want to create panic or backlash . "