A new documentary from BBC News Arabic reveals how scores of boys are tortured, starved, beaten and kept chained up in Islamic “schools” across the African nation of Sudan.
Children as young as five are kept shackled and are beaten by instructors at the schools, and are also subjected to sexual abuse.
An investigation revealed the routine child abuse inside the schools – known as khalwas – of which there are nearly 30,000 in the country.
The BBC investigative report The Schools that Chain Boys found malnourished boys living in squalid conditions and forced to sleep on the floor in the extreme heat. Footage was also obtained of horrific wounds inflicted on boys, with beatings so severe that bone was exposed, and of sick children squirming and crying in pain without medical help.
Undercover reporter and former khalwa student Fateh al-Rahman al-Hamdani secretly filmed inside nearly two dozen khalwas over a year and a half.
The film centers on two boys who were beaten nearly to death. The boys had been imprisoned and tortured inside a school for five days without food or water and tar was rubbed into their wounded backs.
One of the boys said he witnessed other boys being raped by older students in the khalwa. A doctor who examined three boys that had recently escaped from another khalwa told the BBC that boys had been repeatedly raped.