A picture taken on June 27, 2016, shows Albanian boys Klevis (L), Albert (R) and their mother in their home near the town of Shkodra. AFP / DIMITAR DILKOFF
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Living in fear: Children trapped by Albania's vendettaThey lead a life clouded by misery, often robbed of the opportunity of going to school – and the fear of being killed is a daily reality. These are the children living under the shadow of the so-called Gjakmarrja vendetta.AFP met several youngsters living in dread of falling victim to Albania's blood tradition – feuds between families in the mountainous north dating back to the 15th century that spare no male in a family capable of holding a weapon.It has detailed rules for blood feuds which state that when someone is killed, the victim's family can take revenge not only against the killer himself but all males of the extended clan.The authorities are reluctant to publicize numbers of those affected by blood feuds for fear of tarnishing Albania's reputation as it continues in its bid to join the EU.An estimated 66 families with 157 people including 44 children remain in hiding, according to an official report on the issue published in April.Marku, the expert involved in defusing blood feud violence, says there has been a steady decline in the phenomenon but estimated that some 190 children are still affected – with as many as 80 deprived adequate schooling because of it.
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