Yes, while most seven-year-olds are in school making friends and learning to read and write — maybe even pretending to fight with toy guns — in Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, little boys are being trained by rebel forces to fight and overpower the Colonel‘s loyalist troops in the country’s bloody civil war.
The Daily Mail reports boys as young as age seven have been pictured in Misrata cleaning, assembling and carrying automatic assault weapons.
While reports claim the children don’t appear to have fought on the front lines yet, it certainly seems they are being trained to go in for the kill at a moment’s notice.
Since the uprising began in February, rebel forces have reportedly seized control of most of Libya’s eastern regions, even establishing an administration in Benghazi. The Mail reports rebel forces are gaining ground:
They also control the coastal city of Misrata and much of the Nafusa mountain range south-west of the capital Tripoli.
After a string of victories in recent months, rebel forces have expanded the area under their control in the mountains.
But despite making headway in the east, rebel fighters, whose arsenal is meager at best, have reportedly resorted to constructing makeshift weapons in an effort to contend with Gaddafi’s well-equipped loyalist troops. The Mail talks about how the rebels scavenge for parts and engineer crude rocket launchers:
Heavy weapons are in short supply in Misrata, but ingenious fighters have created workshops where impromptu missile launchers and machine guns are being welded from spare parts.
Sadiq Mubakar Krain, a former oil company foreman, is busy welding some of the weapons using scavenged equipment.
Pointing to a 16-tube rocket launcher, he said: ‘This is the first time I make one of these.
‘I have learned to make other things and to weld, so God willing, I have got this one right.’
The Mail also reports the rebels are working tirelessly to manufacture housings for their heavy artillery and anti-aircraft guns. And, since sophisticated equipment is nonexistent for the group, pick-up trucks will serve as the rebels’ crude rocket launchers.