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Koran contest kids get guns, grenades
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The prizes in this year's contest? Assault rifles and live grenades!
The station, based near the capital, Mogadishu, awarded an AK-47 assault rifle and the equivalent of $700 to the first-place group. The second-place group received an AK-47 and the equivalent of $500, while those who placed third received two live hand grenades and $400.
The al-Shabab group is linked to al-Qaeda and was recently forced out of Mogadishu, though it still controls much of central and southern Somalia.
"Youths should use one hand for education and the other for a gun to defend Islam," said al-Shabab official Mukhtar Robow at the prize awards ceremony, held not far from Mogadishu. Pictures of the awards ceremony appeared on a website affiliated with the group.
Winners also received Islamic religious books. Prizes in previous years included a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and anti-tank mines. Somalia has been in the news in recent years due to the twin plagues of drought and piracy, with Muslim pirates preying on shipping and pleasure boats in the Indian Ocean. (Sources: BBC News, The Guardian [London].)