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Children wielding weapons in Albania

armed children

March 8, 1997
Web posted at: 10:40 p.m. EST (0340 GMT)

TIRANA, Albania (CNN) -- Laws designed to keep children out of the conflict between government forces and rebels in southern Albania seem to be having little effect in at least one town.

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Authorities in the town of Delvina issued a proclamation forbidding anyone under the age of 16 from carrying a gun. But the proclamation seems to have had little impact.

Children who appeared to be as young as 3 years old were seen handling weapons. Older children were carrying guns, some of them automatic rifles seized from abandoned army posts.

One group of jovial boys was seen climbing onto an unmanned government tank and firing automatic rifles into the air.

Schools are closed, and many of the children have joined the fighting in the south which erupted after many Albanians lost their life savings in pyramid schemes.


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