Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi is reportedly arming teenagers, including girls, to build an "unofficial civilian army" against the ongoing NATO-rebel military campaign.
According to The Guardian, the Gaddafi regime is releasing thousands of AK-47 assault rifles into communities and is organizing classes in the use of weapons.
Officials said the minimum age for weapons training was 17, but a women's training centre in the town of Sbia, 30 miles south of Tripoli, was crowded with girls as young as seven.
"I want to defend my country from the crusader enemy," 18-year-old Salmeen Faroun said.
She said she had never fired a gun before, but "now I have a goal".
When asked if she was frightened at the idea of taking part in a gun battle, Salmeen said: "No. I have the right to kill, to fight against NATO and the rats [opposition rebels]."
The instructor at the training centre, Zohrah Mohamed, said she was proud to be training women to defend their country.
"Gaddafi did a lot of things for women," Zohrah said.
When asked if it was acceptable to train children to use weapons, she said: "All the Libyan people must be armed."
Gaddafi, one of the longest-serving rulers in history, had earlier vowed to "die a martyr" if necessary in his fight against the foreign and rebels forces.