BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. soldiers helped rescue 24 abused and severely malnourished boys this month from a Baghdad orphanage, where they were found in conditions of appalling squalor, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.
Iraqi and U.S. soldiers were led to the Al-Hanan orphanage on June 10 by members of a neighborhood council and immediately took the children to hospital. The story was first reported by CBS News on Monday.
“The 24 boys, aged 3 to 15 years old, were found naked in a darkened room without any windows. Many of the children were tied to their beds and were too weak to stand once released,” the U.S. military said in a statement.
Pictures on Iraqi television showed a series of tiny, starved, naked figures. In one, a U.S. soldier attended a boy whose body was covered in sores.
Another child was tied to a cot and a third picture showed a group of boys lying face down on the floor, in pools of what appeared to be their own excrement.
“In a nearby locked room, the soldiers discovered a room full of food and clothing that could have been used to aid the children,” the statement said.
A spokeswoman for the government ministry responsible for the orphanage said that the building’s director had been arrested, together with several members of his staff.
Since leaving hospital, the boys have been moved to an orphanage for girls next door to where they were found.