Thursday, June 25, 2009

Somalia: Islamists Amputate Hands and Legs of Four Teenagers

MOGADISHU, June 25 (Reuters) - Somalia's hard line 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."

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