Cameroon police rescue 70 children from illegal detention camp
Police in northern Cameroon said they had freed 70 children from an illegal disciplinary camp, where the children said they had been left by their parents to be chained and beaten. According to authorities, camp workers were detained, and the injured and traumatized children were being treated.
Cameroon police said they entered the illegal disciplinary camp, known locally as a traditional rehabilitation center for wayward children, in the city of Ngaoundere.
Police said they freed 70 boys and girls 6 to 14 years old Tuesday, with many limping as a result of torture and others with fresh wounds.
Among the freed children was 14-year-old Alim Iddrisou, who said that when he had refused to attend a Quranic school in March 2020, his parents accused him of lacking respect for community rules and elders and took him to the center.
He said God saved his life and gave him courage to bear the gruesome torture inflicted on him by workers of the center. He said that he had spent the first of his two years in the camp with his feet chained, that each child was served a poorly cooked meal each day, and that anyone who complained was beaten by the camp’s guards.
Speaking on local media, Iddrisou said that whenever the few toilets in the camp were occupied, workers forced children to defecate in plastic bags or urinate in bottles. He said older boys were escorted to empty the feces and urine in a nearby stream at night.
The freed children said that four of their peers had died of torture and starvation within the past three months and that they did not know where their bodies were buried. Police acknowledge that a few children died. The government said it is still trying to identify their parents.