News24

Thieves' hands amputated

2009-09-09 14:56

Mogadishu - Somali Islamists publicly chopped off the right hands of two men in Mogadishu on Wednesday, a sign the hardline Shebab militia is imposing Sharia law in areas of the capital under its control.

"The Sharia court found the two men guilty of breaking into houses and stealing property. They admitted to the charges against them," said Sheikh Abdibasit Mohamed, an Islamic court judge in the north of Mogadishu.

"Therefore each one of them gets his right hand amputated according to the Islamic Sharia."

The two men in their late 20s screamed loudly as the punishment was administered by knife, and were taken to hospital for treatment.

The Shebab fighters barred journalists from taking pictures.

Growing influence

A teenager was also publicly punished, receiving 100 lashes over allegations that he raped a young girl.

The extremist group has imposed strict Sharia in areas of the country that have fallen under its control in months of battles with government forces and African Union peacekeepers.

In June, four people had their hands and feet amputated as a punishment of robbery, but Wednesday's public amputations were a sign of the extremists' growing influence in Mogadishu itself, with diminishing areas of the capital under government control.

"This is an Islamic law and we are all equal before the justice. Anyone found guilty of a crime will face the punishment under the Islamic sharia," said Sheikh Ali Husein, a senior Shebab official in Mogadishu.