Mali Islamists kill man by firing squad in Timbuktu

A Tuareg herder whose right hand was amputated last month by an Islamist group, shows his bandaged arm at an Amnesty International news conference in Bamako, Mali (20 Sept) Islamists have carried out several amputations as punishments in recent months

Militant Islamists in northern Mali have publicly killed a man accused of murder.

A crowd of at least 100 people in Timbuktu watched a firing squad shoot the man, according to eyewitnesses.

Northern Mali has been overrun by Islamist and Tuareg rebels following a coup in Bamako in March.

This public killing is being seen as the latest demonstration by Islamists of their intention to impose their strict interpretation of Sharia law.

One local witness told journalists the man was a member of the ethnic Tuareg rebel group, the MNLA.

The MNLA is a former ally of the Islamist groups (including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) that have seized control of the north - but Islamists have now turned against the secular group.

They have since imposed Sharia law in many of the areas under their control, despite strong opposition from the local Muslim population.

Intervention

"He turned himself in... He was judged, condemned to death and executed this evening.

"He was shot in the same way he shot his victim. This is what Sharia says," Sanda Ould Boumana, a spokesman for the rebel group Ansar Dine which controls Timbuktu, was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

In recent months, the Islamists have also stoned to death a couple accused of adultery, and carried out several amputations.

The UN Security Council is to hold "preliminary" talks on Thursday over Mali's request for the UN to back military intervention in the north.

"There seems to be some understanding that the situation in Mali cannot continue as it is, something has to be done.

"But what has not been clarified is who does what, what the scale of this operation is, what it is going to look like, what are the budget implications," the Guatemalan ambassador to the UN, Gert Rosenthal, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The US has said it would support an African-led force, as long as Mali's neighbours backed the idea.

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