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Islamist “Justice” Brutalizing Northern Mali

Islamist forces are consolidating their control of northern Mali, strictly enforcing sharia and instituting punishments like public whippings, stonings for adulterers, and dismemberment for thieves. The AP reports:

Monday’s amputations occurred in the northern city of Gao, said Aliou Hamahar Toure, its Islamic police commissioner.

He told The Associated Press by telephone that the five victims had held up passenger buses leaving the city, including those belonging to the popular fleet owned by Rimbo Transport. In accordance with Shariah law, they each have [sic] their right hand and left foot cut off. They were then transferred to the Gao hospital, Toure said.

He claimed the accused thieves did not scream when their limbs were hacked off with a large knife. “They just said, ‘Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! (‘God is Great’) until it was over. Then we took them to the hospital, where they are now receiving intensive care,” said Toure.

There you have it: sharia with a human face. The Mali Islamists provide intensive medical care after chopping off your limbs! Al-Qaeda affiliates’ activity in this story is cause for worry but, as in Iraq, their customary brutality might work against them. Gratuitous violence can make for bad PR, turning locals against occupiers.

The terrible conditions in northern Mali were created in part by the breakdown of order in Libya, an unintended consequence of the destruction of the Great Loon’s Libyan empire. After the Libyan war, Qaddafi’s mercenaries and weapons descended on Mali’s northern deserts, replacing weak democratic rule with destruction and hate. Yesterday’s attack on US diplomats in Benghazi by what looks to be one of the many radical armed groups emerging from the chaos underlines the reality that the aftermath of Gaddafi’s fall has been anything but bloodbath free.

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