Witnesses: Mali Extremists Amputate Limbs of Suspected Thieves

Posted September 10th, 2012 at 3:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Witnesses in northern Mali say Islamist militants have amputated the limbs of five suspected thieves.

Sources told VOA Monday that the militants punished the men by amputating each one's right hand and left foot in the northern city of Gao.

The amputations were carried out in a public square on Monday. The amputees were then taken to a hospital, where militants blocked access to the medical facility.

Gao is under the control of the al-Qaida-allied militant group called MUJAO, or the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa.

Since sweeping into the area in April, Islamist extremists have seized control of major northern cities and started imposing a strict form of Islamic law.

The groups have carried out executions, amputations, destroyed ancient temples and banned non-Islamic music.

MUJAO says four of the amputees attacked a vehicle and stole money and jewelry from people inside. The group claims the fifth man stole weapons.