Somali Islamist group chop off limps of suspected robbers

21:24, October 10, 2009      

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The radical Islamist group of Al-Shabaab on Friday carried out amputations on three men alleged to have robbed a car in the southern Somali port town of Kismayu, residents said on Saturday.

Islamist fighters cut off a foot and a hand on each of the two men. The third man, who already had a disabled hand, had only a foot amputated.

The Islamists accused the men of robbing a car in Kismayu, 500 km south of the country's capital Mogadishu.

Hundreds of local residents, mainly women and children, gathered to watch the amputations being carried out by masked men in the city center.

The young men were screaming for help as they underwent the amputations carried out with big, sharp knifes, residents said. They were rushed to the hospital after the punishment.

The hardline Islamist group of Al-Shabaab controls much of southern and central Somalia. Such amputations, executions, and floggings of criminals and opposition individuals were usually carried out by the group in areas under their control including parts of the Somali capital.

The Islamist group, considered by the Somali government and the United States as a terrorist organization, is fighting the Somali government and African Union peacekeeping forces in Mogadishu, in pursuit of the establishment of an Islamic State in Somalia.

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