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Children at New Mexico compound ‘were being trained for school shooting’

Wahhaj was arrested last week with four other adults. They are facing child abuse charges.

Prosecutors say that children discovered at a New Mexico compound were being trained to commit school shootings.

Court documents filed on Wednesday say Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was conducting weapons training at the compound near the Colorado border where 11 hungry children were found in filthy conditions.

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Siraj Wahhaj (Taos County Sheriff’s Office/AP)

Prosecutor Timothy Hasson filed the court documents while asking that Wahhaj be held without bail after he was arrested last week with four other adults facing child abuse charges.

“He 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,” Mr Hasson wrote.

Prosecutors did not bring up the school shooting accusation in court on Wednesday during an initial appearance by the abuse suspects.

A judge ordered Wahhaj held without bond pending further proceedings.

In the court documents, authorities said a foster parent of one of the 11 children removed from the compound had told authorities that the child had been trained to use an assault rifle in preparation for a school shooting.

Authorities say human remains found at the compound were being analysed by medical examiners to determine if they are those of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, who is severely disabled and went missing in December in Jonesboro, Georgia, near Atlanta.

In a Georgia arrest warrant, authorities said the father had told the boy’s mother that he wanted to perform an exorcism on the child because he believed he was possessed by the devil. He later said he was taking the child to a park and didn’t return.

The father was among those arrested at the compound. He is accused in Georgia of kidnapping the boy and a warrant for his arrest was issued.

The warrant said the missing boy had severe medical issues, including a defect caused by lack of oxygen and blood flow around the time of birth. It said he cannot walk and requires constant attention.

For months, neighbours worried about the squalid compound built along a remote New Mexico plain, saying they took their concerns to authorities months before sheriff’s officials raided the encampment, described as a small camping trailer in the ground.

Authorities said during the raid on Friday that they had found the father armed with multiple firearms, including an assault rifle. They also said they believed there was a shooting range on the site.

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