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“It’s Like We’re Always in a Prison”

Summary In late 2015 the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab forcibly abducted Hamza, a 15-year-old boy from the contested town of Merka in southern Somalia, and took him to one of the group’s training camps. After two and half months of rudimentary training with an AK-47 assault rifle, he was among at least 64 children sent to fight for Al-Shabab in an unprecedented attack in Puntland in March 2016. Hamza, unlike many of the boys he trained with, survived the assault. He was captured by the Puntland military and taken to jail. “Four Puntland soldiers beat me,” Hamza told Human Rights Watch. “They tied…

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