Islamists in northern Mali confirmed that they had cut off a man's hand, in accordance with sharia. The man was alleged to have stolen a motorbike.
The incident occurred yesterday at the town of Ansongo. A local government official, who claimed to have witnessed the amputation, said dozens of people watched as the man's hand was cut off. "There was a lot of blood", he added.
According to the Daily Telegraph, a leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), Mohamed Ould Abdine, claimed:
Yes, I confirm it. We applied sharia in Ansongo yesterday (Wednesday). The hand of a thief was cut off. Sharia demands it.
According to allAfrica, the victim is Abdul Malick Maiga and the sentence was scheduled to have been carried out last weekend. However, the brave intervention of radio journalist, Adaar Khoima, in neighbouring Gao, successfully mobilised a public protest against the sharia punishment.
As a result of Adaar Khoima's intervention, jihadists kidnapped the journalist. He was beaten and left for dead in a cemetery. He was subsequently taken to hospital for treatment and survived his ordeal.
The MUJAO claimed that the protest had merely postponed the sentence, asserting: "It is the law of God".
Yesterday, as the Islamists were executing their sentence, according to Reuters, Ban Ki Moon called on the UN Security Council to:
...give serious consideration to the imposition of targeted travel and financial sanctions against individuals or groups in Mali engaged in terrorist, religious extremist or criminal activities.
The imposition of sharia by jihadists in northern Mali is creating a humanitarian crisis. Ban told the Security Council the conflict has displaced more than 174,000 people within Mali and hundreds of thousands had fled to neighbouring countries. He said that more than 18 million people were affected by a severe food crisis.
West African leaders have called for a UN mandate to legitimate a military intervention in order to restore peace and order to the region. Whilst the UN has backed calls for political measures, it has yet to endorse military intervention.