Islamists in Mali detain, whip protesters

2012-07-14 20:13
An Ansar Dine rebel. (File, AFP)

An Ansar Dine rebel. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bamako - Radical Islamists in northern Mali have briefly detained about 90 protesters and whipped them in an apparent attempt to intimidate the locals, a witness said on Saturday.

Resident Hama Cisse of Goundam town, some 100kmwest of Timbuktu, said members of the radical Islamic sect Ansar Dine went from door to door in the morning to arrest the leaders of a protest against them.

The protest erupted Friday after a young Islamist militant whipped a woman carrying a baby for not wearing what he considered to be an adequate veil, he said. The baby fell and was critically injured, according to Cisse and other residents.

But a spokesperson for the al-Qaeda-linked group that vows to introduce strict Islamic laws, Sanda Abou Mohamed, dismissed the protests as a smear campaign, saying the baby had not been injured.

He also maintained that the group "hasn't whipped anyone in Goundam".

Another resident reached by phone, Ousmane Yattara, said angry citizens marched toward the radicals' base, vandalized the premises and took their food supplies.

Residents said more than 100 people took part in Friday's protest.

The situation in Goundam remained tense on Saturday, with most residents staying in their houses while the radical Islamists have set up checkpoints on all roads leading to and from the town. About two thirds of the population of about 13 000 inhabitants has already fled the city, joining an estimated more than 300 000 people who fled to neighboring countries or southern Mali to seek refuge from the Islamists.

Mali, once considered a stable democracy, has been mired in turbulence stemming from a March coup by soldiers who defected and overthrew the democratically elected president.

Making matters worse, rebel groups of ethnic Tuareg separatists took advantage of the power vacuum to rapidly encroach on the northern part of Mali, an area larger than France.

But in June, the al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine declared they had driven out another rebel group of and had assumed control over northern Mali.

In a sign that eerily reminded the international community of the Taliban's destruction of famous ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan in the 1990s, the Islamists have also started to destroy Muslim shrines and historical sites, including some in Timbuktu which are part of a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    ansar dine  |  mali  |  west africa publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Major Payne as Ireland lose star centre
LIVE: Samoa v Scotland
Jones: Japan can be 'team of the tournament'
LIVE: Australia v Wales
Traffic Alerts

The phrase for today is:”Out of the blue.” Expect the unexpected and work with the changeable energy. Your intuition is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.