More than 400 boys and men were freed from an Islamic boarding school in Kaduna, Nigeria where they were chained up by staff and raped for years.
And now Nigerian authorities are scrambling to try and find their families.
The detainees were mostly children who told BBC that they had been starved, sexually abused, tortured, and prevented from leaving.
On Thursday, police raided a city building where the victims were kept (as per a police spokesperson), “in the most debasing and inhuman conditions in the name of teaching them the Koran and reforming them.”
Police raided the school after a relative was denied access to the captives.
Ali Janga, Kaduna state’s chief of police, said they raided the house after receiving an anonymous tip-off on Thursday, and that the case was of ‘human slavery’.
He said the boys and men were from Mali, Burkina Faso, and other African countries.
The students were enrolled in the school, which has been in operation for over a decade, by their families for learning the Koran and stop drug abuse.
Seven staff members, including the school’s proprietor were arrested during the raid. The school’s owner claimed to have only taught teachings of Islam and labeled the accusations of sexual assault and torture as incorrect.
However, the fact that students were kept in chains was acknowledged.