Shebab dishes out capital punishment in Somalia

2011-04-12 14:24

Mogadishu, Somalia – Three young Somalis accused of theft had a hand and a foot chopped off in public today in Jowhar, a town north of Mogadishu controlled by the al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab group.

Hundreds of residents gathered at a football stadium to watch the punishment being meted out by officials from a Shebab-run Islamic court, witnesses and residents said.

“These men intercepted a civilian truck travelling in the region and robbed it. They extorted around 3 400 000 Somali shillings (about R700) and two mobile phones from the passengers,” said Sheikh Yusuf Hassan Barow, the court’s judge.

“After confessing to their crimes in front of the court, each of them was sentenced to have his right hand and left foot cut off,” he added.
Witnesses inside the stadium told AFP by phone that the sentence was carried out by four masked men.

“The hooded men who chopped the victims’ limbs off were strong and they had covered their faces with traditional Islamic turbans,” Mohamed Isak said.

“The punishment looked so painful I could feel it. The victims were screaming all the time as they had their hand and foot cut off,” said another Jowhar resident, who refused to give his name.

The Shebab have imposed a strict form of sharia, or Islamic law, in many of the areas they control of over the past three years.

The Shebab – whose restrictions range from a ban on watching televised football matches to dress codes – have arrested, mutilated and executed suspected criminals on a number of occasions.

The insurgent movement lost ground in recent weeks as African Union troops in Mogadishu and pro-government alliances elsewhere in the country launched a military offensive but the Shebab still control large swathes of Somalia.

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