Military police have raided a house in Cameroon and freed around 70 children who were being held captive and were suffering from disease and hunger.
Some of them had spent three years in chains and had scars inflicted from beatings, officers told local media.
The head of an Islamic school who owned the house in the northern town of Ngaoundere has been arrested.
The arrested man denies any wrongdoing, saying parents willingly sent their children to his “correctional centre”.
The Koranic school master is also reported to have married two young girls who were imprisoned in the house.
The military police, known as gendarmes, say all the children are now free and are being given medical help before they being reunited with their families.
The BBC’s Randy Joe Sa’ah in the capital, Yaounde, says the raid followed a tip-off given to the gendarmes.
A few adults were amongst the captives, including one man whose relative allegedly wanted to be rid of him because of an inheritance dispute, he says.