A couple accused of engaging in extramarital affairs have been stoned to death by an Islamic militant group in control of northern Mali.
The young pair were publicly executed in the remote town of Aguelhok, near the vast West African nation’s northern border with Algeria, on Sunday, a spokesman for the Ansar Dine (‘defenders of the faith’) group said.
‘These two people were married and had extra-conjugal relations.
‘Our men on the ground in Aguelhok applied sharia [Islamic law],’ Sanda Ould Bounama said on Monday.
‘They both died right away and even asked for this application.
‘We don’t have to answer to anyone over the application of sharia,’ he said.
Most people living in northern Mali have long practised Islam, but frustrations with the strict form of sharia being imposed by Islamists have sparked several protests in recent months.
Ansar Dine and well-armed allies, including Al Qaeda splinter group Mujwa, have hijacked a separatist uprising by local Tuareg rebels and now control two-thirds of north Mali’s desert – including Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.
Western and African governments are struggling to muster a response to the crisis as politicians in the capital Bamako continue to squabble over how the country should be governed after a March coup removed the country’s president.
Amnesty International’s Deputy Africa Director Paule Rigaud said: ‘Amnesty condemns this gruesome and horrific act of stoning.
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