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Massacre: Boy Testifies At Soldier's Hearing

A boy who survived a massacre that killed 16 people has given evidence against the US soldier accused of carrying out the shooting in Afghanistan.

The teenager, called Sadiquallah and believed to be 13 or 14-years-old, testified by video link from Kandahar during a hearing at a military base outside Seattle for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales.                 

Bales, 39, is accused of killing 16 civilians, including nine children, on March 11 in an attack on two villages near his base at Camp Belambay. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Speaking through an interpreter, the boy said a neighbour woke him up when she screamed that an American had "killed our men".

He said he and another boy ran to hide in a storage room and ducked behind a curtain, where a bullet grazed his head.

The other child was hit in the thigh and also survived.

"I was hiding behind the curtains. A bullet hit me," he said.

Earlier, a relative of some of the victims said he found their bodies piled together and burned.

Khamal Adin told the hearing, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, that on the morning after the killings he arrived at a compound belonging to his cousin, Mohammed Wazir.

He found Wazir's mother lying dead in a doorway, a gunshot to her head.

Further inside, Mr Adin said he found the bodies of six of his cousin's seven children, the man's wife, and other relatives. The fire that burned the bodies was out, but Mr Adin said he could smell smoke.

"Everybody was shot on the head ... I didn't pay attention to the rest of the wounds," he said.

The evidence is part of a preliminary hearing to help determine whether Bales, a father of two from Lake Tapps, Washington, should face a court martial. He is charged with 16 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of attempted murder.

Prosecutors say Bales carried out his attack in two parts, attacking one village before returning to the base and then departing again to raid another.

It is alleged that in between his attacks, he woke a fellow soldier, reported what he had done, but the soldier did not believe what he said and went back to sleep.

Bales has not entered a plea and is not expected to testify. Bales' lawyers say he has post-traumatic stress disorder and suffered a head injury during a prior deployment to Iraq.

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