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Al Shabaab Awards AK-47 to Winner of Koran Reciting Competition

The winner of a Koran recital contest and general knowledge competition organized by Islamist militant group al Shabaab in Somalia was rewarded with an AK-47, two hand grenades, an anti-tank mine, and a computer.

The month-long competition — which was won by a 17-year-old — was held in Southern Somalia and hosted by the rebel group with ties to Al Qaeda.

The runner-up in the contest was a 22-year-old, who received a prize of an AK-47 and ammunition. The contest, planned for 10-25 years olds, was capped off at a ceremony where rebel leaders urged parents to allow their children to learn how to handle weapons so that they may fight against the enemy, Reuters reported.

The extremist group al Shabaab, an ally of Al Qaeda, controls most of Southern and Central Somalia. The group is now engaged in a conflict against the U.N.-backed government of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.