LOS ANGELES, Aug 9, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – 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 Wednesday.
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, with no clean water or electricity. Authorities
also found little in the way of food.
Wahhaj is also under investigation for the death of a 12th child —
possibly his son, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj — whose body was discovered on the
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.”
As a result, he faces another investigation for teaching “the use,
application or making of any firearm, destructive device or technique capable
of causing injury or death” with the intention that the knowledge be used
unlawfully — which is classed as a felony.
“The Defendant … is under investigation … based upon the training of
children with weapons in furtherance of a conspiracy to commit school
shootings,” prosecutors said Wednesday in a court filing requesting that
Wahhaj be held in custody.
“Trip hazards, woods with nails sticking up, broken glass, bottles, and
open trenches littered the property,” it added.
“Trash scattered around the property, no clean water, no electricity, no
indoor plumbing and the children were clothed in rags.”
Prosecutors also said loaded firearms were found at the compound.
“(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
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.
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 missing Abdul.
In the first operation, when the 11 children were discovered, Abdul was
But officers returned to the site after questioning the suspects last
week, which led them to believe that the boy was still there.
“We discovered the remains yesterday on Abdul’s fourth birthday,” Taos
County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said Tuesday, appearing to fight back tears.
The boy’s mother had 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.
She also told authorities Wahhaj wanted to exorcize his son because he
considered that his disability was due to a demon.