11 malnourished children rescued from armed compound in US

Linda Sarsour

"Last Thursday, when a message we reasonably believe came from a occupant of the compound or somebody with great knowledge of the compound sent a message saying said basically, we are starving and the children are staving, or something along those lines".

A months-long search for a 3-year-old led police to a compound buried under New Mexico scrubland.

This Fri., Aug. 3, 2018, photo released by Taos County Sheriff's Office shows Siraj Wahhaj. Wahhaj is also is being detained on a Georgia warrant that seeks his extradition to face a charge of abducting his son.

Investigators believe the child was at the compound just a few weeks ago.

It took law enforcement hours to secure the property, as both Wahhaj and Morten initially refused to follow verbal commands.

The boy and his father were reportedly last seen involved in a vehicle accident on I-65 in Alabama two-weeks after their disappearance. They were booked into the Taos County Adult Detention Center.

Alabama police said they were told the group were going camping in New Mexico, the station said.

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According to a report by ABC News, authorities were originally searching for a missing 3-year-old boy, but they did not find him at the remote compound.

The rescue of 11 hungry children in Amalia, New Mexico, on Friday began with a mysterious tip delivered to a detective across the country, in Clayton County, Georgia, from where young Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj vanished in November.

Authorities said in the news conference that they have not positively identified the remains as missing Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said yesterday that the tragic evidence was found after a search in Amalia, but identification has not yet been confirmed.

"We all gave the kids our water and what snacks we had - it was the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen", Hogrefe said.

The boy's mother told police her child, who she said suffered from seizures along with developmental and cognitive delays, went to the park with his father Wahhaj last December and never returned.

FBI investigators had reason to believe that Wahhaj was occupying the compound with Morten and others, but they didn't feel there was enough probable cause to obtain a search warrant.

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"I haven't seen my son in nine months", Ramzi said on Tuesday.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents refused to request a search warrant, but the Taos County Sheriff's Office moved quickly and took both men, one of which was heavily armed, into custody during an all-day raid Saturday.

The children, ages 1 to 15, were discovered in the "Third World"-worthy compound, which was built out of garbage, in the desert near Amalia".

"Today we will be filing the petition with the court to maintain custody of those children", said Monique Jacobson, cabinet secretary for the department.

The children found on the grounds were placed in protective custody, officials said. He and four other adults are charged with the abuse of 11 children found in a filthy, makeshift compound.

"I absolutely knew that we couldn't wait on another agency to step up and we had to go check this out as soon as possible", said a statement from the sheriff.

They said the children, aged one to 15, had no shoes, were wearing rags and "looked like Third World refugees", BBC reported.

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