US camp raid suspect trained children for school shootings

This handout photo released by the Taos County Sheriff's Office on August 4, 2018 shows Georgia man Siraj Ibn Wahhaj after his arrest on August 3, 2018 at a makeshift compound in Amalia, New Mexico. — AFP pic
This handout photo released by the Taos County Sheriff's Office on August 4, 2018 shows Georgia man Siraj Ibn Wahhaj after his arrest on August 3, 2018 at a makeshift compound in Amalia, New Mexico. — AFP pic

AMALIA (New Mexico), Aug 9 — A man arrested in a raid on a squalid compound in New Mexico was training children living there to carry out school shootings, prosecutors said yesterday.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, was arrested along with four other people on Friday at the desert compound in Amalia, New Mexico, and has been charged with 11 counts of child abuse.

Eleven children aged one to 15 were found living on the compound in filthy conditions, prosecutors said, and Wahhaj is under investigation for the death of a 12th child — possibly his son — whose body was discovered on the property.

“Trip hazards, woods with nails sticking up, broken glass, bottles, and open trenches littered the property,” prosecutors said yesterday in a court filing requesting that Wahhaj be held in custody.

“Trash scattered around the property, no clean water, no electricity, no indoor plumbing and the children were clothed in rags,” the filing said, adding that loaded firearms were also found at the compound.

Prosecutors quoted the foster parent of one of the children as claiming that Wahhaj “had trained the child in the use of an assault rifle in preparation for future school shootings.”

“(Wahhaj) poses a great danger to the children found on the property as well as a threat to the community as a whole due to the presence of firearms and his intent to use these firearms in a violent and illegal manner,” the court filing said.

Wahhaj is wanted in the state of Georgia for the alleged abduction of his four-year-old son. Authorities are investigating whether the remains found at the New Mexico compound are those of the missing boy.

Three women believed to be the mothers of the 11 children found at the compound were also arrested in Friday’s raid along with another man, Lucas Morten, and charged with child abuse. — AFP

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