Kano, Oct 19 (AFP) Police in northern Nigeria have rescued 147 people from an Islamic boarding school where the students were being abused, the fourth such raid in a month, a local official told AFP.

Armed officers found the inmates when they raided a school in the Rigasa district of Kaduna, said Hafsat Baba, Kaduna state women affairs commissioner.

"All the inmates were found in chains and said they were beaten. There are 22 women among them and some of them complained of being sexually abused," she added.

Two Cameroonians and two people from Niger were among those rescued, she said. There were also four children at the school.

The inmates had been taken there by family members for "petty theft, delinquency and drug addiction," Baba added. "Some of them have psychological problems and are mentally unstable."

Last month police rescued more than 300 male students from a similar boarding school in the same neighbourhood. They too said they had been tortured and sexually abused.

That led to police raids on two other boarding schools in nearby Katsina state this week, where officers said they rescued more than 400 male students.

The high rate of drug use and a lack of rehabilitation facilities in northern Nigeria has led some parents to enrol their children in informal reformatory Islamic schools, where they are sometimes subjected to abuse.

Baba promised that any schools found keeping their inmates in such conditions would be shut down. (AFP)

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