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Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 13:44 UK

Police raid Nigeria 'baby farm'

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Police have raided a private hospital in Nigeria where they suspect new-born babies were being sold to traffickers.

Police found the hospital in the south-eastern town of Enugu, when a 17-year-old girl escaped.

Four people - two nurses and the hospital's owners - have been arrested in connection with the "baby farm", police said.

Seven pregnant young women discovered in the hospital during the raid are now in the care of the state government.

Escape

State police commissioner Sani Magaji told the BBC Hausa service that a 17-year-old who was days away from giving birth had escaped from the hospital.

The women, according to the police, had spent up to six months in the hospital, waiting to give birth.

Their babies would be sold for as little as 15,000 naira ($127, 72), the police said.

It is suspected the babies were to be sold to traffickers who sell children into forced labour or prostitution.

The BBC's Abdussalam Ahmed in Enugu says several similar cases have been discovered in Nigeria in recent years.

Poor, unmarried women face tough choices if they get pregnant in Nigeria.

Unmarried mothers face exclusion from society, our correspondent says.

Abortion is illegal except in rare cases, and illegally obtained abortions are very dangerous.

In May, a Nigerian woman was jailed in the UK for trying to smuggle a baby into the country in order to get on the list for a council flat.

Police have not been able to trace the child's real parents.


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