Somali Islamist court cuts off hands, feet of 4 men convicted of stealing phones and guns
By Elizabeth A. Kennedy@ - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS@ - Associated PressThursday, June 25, 2009 Digg Delicious Google It furl It Technorati Email Print Share [-] Text [+] Read/Post Comments
The punishments were the latest sign that insurgents wield
the real power in the lawless African nation, where the embattled,
Western-backed government is struggling to survive. Thursday's amputations were
all the more audacious because they were carried out in
"The men were bleeding and crying when the man cut
their hands and feet off with a long knife," said one witness, Liban Ali,
among hundreds of people who gathered at a military camp in
The men were estimated to be between 18 and 25.
The Shariah court that carried out the sentences is run by
al-Shabab, which is trying to topple
The government appeared to have no authority to stop the punishments.
"All I can say for now is that it was a violation against human rights and a sentence carried out by criminals," Somali Information Minister Farhan Ali Mohamud said when asked to comment on the amputations.
Somalis traditionally observe Sufi Islam, a relatively
moderate form of worship. But in recent years, insurgents have begun to follow
austere Wahabi Islam — rooted in
Wahabism is a component of jihadi Salafism, a doctrine that preaches spreading a strict interpretation of the Qur'an, the Islamic holy book, through violence.
Islamist fighters have controlled
In early 2007, troops from neighbouring
A surge in violence in recent weeks, which diplomats said is
a major push by the insurgents to force the government out of its
Last week, the national security minister and
The country's lawlessness has spread security fears around region and raised concerns that al-Qaida is trying to gain a foothold in the Horn of Africa. The anarchy has also allowed piracy to flourish off the country's coast.
Somali lawmakers pleaded this weekend for immediate
international military intervention from countries including
But there was no indication reinforcements would be
The Washington Post, citing an anonymous
Some 159,000 people have fled their homes since May 7, according to the U.N. refugee agency. The United Nations says an estimated 3.2 million Somalis — almost half the country's population — need food and other humanitarian aid.
AP Writer Anita Powell in
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