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Somali Islamists amputate teenagers' hands and legs

MOGADISHU: Somalia's hardline al Shabaab insurgents cut a hand and a leg each off four teenagers on Thursday as punishment for robbery, the first such amputations by the rebels who follow a strict version of sharia law. Al Shabaab is seen as a proxy for al Qaeda in Somalia and includes foreign jihadists. It has...

SAMAA | - Posted: Jun 24, 2009 | Last Updated: 12 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jun 24, 2009 | Last Updated: 12 years ago

MOGADISHU: Somalia's hardline al Shabaab insurgents cut a hand and a leg each off four teenagers on Thursday as punishment for robbery, the first such amputations by the rebels who follow a strict version of sharia law.

Al Shabaab is seen as a proxy for al Qaeda in Somalia and includes foreign jihadists. It has carried out executions, floggings and single-limb amputations before, mainly in the southern Somali port of Kismayu.

The insurgents are battling to oust the government of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who is a moderate Islamist, and control most of southern Somalia and parts of the Horn of Africa nation's capital.

“Their right hands and left legs have been cut off. They are due to be taken away by ambulance now for treatment,” Mohamed Noh, a resident who was watching the punishment told Reuters. “They were screaming.”

Al Shabaab's strict practices have shocked many Somalis, who are traditionally moderate Muslims, although residents give the insurgents credit for restoring order to regions they control.

“We have carried out this sentence under the Islamic religion and we will punish like this everyone who carries out these acts,” al Shabaab official Sheikh Ali Mohamud Fidow told reporters.

International rights group Amnesty International had condemned the sentence imposed by an Islamic court in the Suqa Holaha area of the capital on Monday, saying the teenagers had no lawyer and were not allowed to appeal.

The teenagers were accused of stealing mobile phones and other belongings.

Another witness, Abdi Hassan, said he vomited when he say the amputations: “It was very terrifying to watch.”

Violence from the Islamist-led insurgency has worsened this month, with a minister, the Mogadishu police chief, and a legislator all killed. The government, which controls little but a few parts of the capital, has declared a state of emergency. With reports of foreign jihadists streaming into Somalia,

western security services are frightened Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network may get a grip on the failed Horn of Africa state that has been without central government for 18 years. AGENCIES

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