updated 9/9/2009 10:36:53 AM ET 2009-09-09T14:36:53

A Somali Islamic court has amputated the hands of two men accused of theft and lashed another accused of rape, an official said Wednesday.

Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for the al-Shabab militia, said the men had admitted the charges against them.

An eyewitness said that kitchen knives were used to amputate a hand off each of the screaming men on a large table. He declined to be named for fear of reprisals.

Wednesday's punishment by courts connected to a powerful insurgent group shows the shaky U.N.-backed government's inability to control even Somalia's capital city of Mogadishu.

Such strict punishments are historically unusual in Somalia and analysts say they are partly a reaction to the chaos of the civil war.

More on: Somalia | al-Shabab

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments