Salat became a member of the Islamist al-Shabab group in Somalia more by bad luck than inclination; he happened to be one of nine boys standing by the school gate when the group raided his school looking for “recruits.”
The younger boys were separated into two groups; some were sent to cook, others like Salat, were given clubs and sent into Mogadishu’s marketplaces to beat people acting outside of their interpretation of Islamic law.
“We beat the people who kept their shops open, who were not in the mosques,” he says, “They told us, during prayer time, go to the market and beat the people who were not praying. They said they would kill us if we did not listen.”
Weeks later, convinced he would be killed, Salat escaped the al-Shabab compound and fled to Kenya and the Dadaab refugee camp, home to around 350,000 mainly Somali refugees.
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