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The Big Picture: War games

Children playing soldiers in Mogadishu

"I am trying to show the world what Somalia is," says Somali photographer Abubakar Albadri. "When you are a photographer in the field you cannot close your eyes and say I cannot take these and leave. You cannot cry. You must take what is there.

"In Mogadishu there are no social services and no infrastructure. A lot of children are playing war games instead of going to school. You can see them playing in the street: they divide themselves into three groups, the insurgents, the Ethiopian forces and the transitional government forces. Most of them usually like to take the role of the insurgents so that they can be the strong group, because they believe the transitional government forces are usually defeated.

"When they play they have some things filled with ash, and they throw those so they can show smoke and bombs. It is a pity because they are raw material for the fighting, because they already know how to fight. The indoctrination of the next generation of Somali fighters has already begun. I feel shame when I see these children and I can't do anything for them."

Abubakar Albadri was interviewed by the BBC World Service.


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