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Somali young combatants' wages may come from American taxpayers
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Awil Salah Osman prowls the streets of this shattered city, looking like so many other boys, with ripped-up clothes, thin limbs and eyes eager for attention and affection.
But Awil is different in two notable ways: he is shouldering a fully automatic, fully loaded Kalashnikov assault rifle; and he is working for a military that is substantially armed and financed by the United States.
“You!” he shout
In Somalia, lives are lost quickly, and few want to take their chances with a moody 12-year-old.
“These kids can be so easily brainwashed,” Mr. Ali said. “They don’t even have to be paid.”