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15-year-old girl in Mali lashed 60 times for talking to males

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 18th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A 15-year-old Timbuktu girl received 60 lashes after Islamist extremists convicted her of speaking to men on the street. The girl was allegedly caught speaking with men by the militant Islamist group Ansar Dine, who control Timbuktu and much of northern Mali.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - One resident claimed the girl was warned repeatedly by the group to stop talking to men in public, but she persisted.

"The Islamists said that the girl was warned five times by Islamist police but she continued to speak to men in the street," Timbuktu resident Ousmane Maiga says.

"After the hearing, the Islamists gave 60 lashes to the girl. The population did not turn out in large numbers to attend this flogging."

The whipping took place in full view of the public in front of the new headquarters of the Islamic police in downtown Timbuktu, next to Independence Square.

Ansar Dine, whose name translates to Defenders of Faith is the most prevalent of a number of al-Qaeda-linked groups that have seized northern Mali after a power vacuum opened by a military coup in the south in March.

The group has imposed Sharia law throughout the territory. They intend on imposing the strict Islamic laws across Mali.

In an incident in July, a man was lashed 40 times by Ansar Dine after being accused of drinking alcohol.

"A young man has just been lashed 40 times for drinking alcohol. The whipping took place in the Timbuktu market," a resident of Timbuktu told reporters. The man was later treated in hospital for his injuries.

A man and woman accused of having a child out of wedlock were given 100 lashes each in Timbuktu last June.

Ansar Dine has also destroyed all the city's bars.

The group first became notorious for demolishing many of the ancient city's shrines to Muslim saints, as the jihadists think this is a form of idolatry.

In addition, another Islamist group, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), has burnt cigarettes, whipped smokers and forbidden people to play football or watch television in territories under its control. This has provoked violent protests in May in the northern city of Gao.

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