Boys 'chained up and tortured' in schools
Police have freed hundreds of manacled boys from a madrassa in northern Nigeria for the third time in a month, raising fears of systemic torture and sexual abuse in Islamic schools there.
Officers raiding Mal Niga School in Katsina found 500 boys, some as young as five, chained to walls, molested or beaten, a grimly familiar occurrence in Nigeria's mostly Muslim north. The owner and five staff were arrested.
Police found Mal Niga had separated its pupils. One building was well-kept with students relatively well treated. A second, essentially a torture centre, appeared to be reserved for newcomers and rebels, victims said, although students from the other building were sometimes taken there to be beaten and molested.
This reflected almost identical alleged abuse in two other madrassas, raising fears that the scale of the abuse could be much wider than at first believed.
Ten million children go to privately owned madrassas, sent there by parents who believe they provide a better education than state schools.
A spokesman for Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria's president, said: "The government cannot allow centres where people are maltreated."