Witnesses: man in Mali gets 50 lashes for drinking

Associated Press

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Witnesses say a man accused of drinking alcohol has been given about 50 whip lashes by radical Islamists who have seized control of parts of northern Mali.

A resident of Timbuktu city, Mohamed Maiga, told The Associated Press he saw the agents of the Islamist group's moral police whipping the young man in public near the market on Monday.

A second witness reached by phone, a local shop owner, confirmed the incident but declined to give his name for fear of reprisals by the Ansar Dine Islamist group.

After a coup ousted Mali's government in March, ethnic Tuareg rebels took control of the north but have been driven out by Islamist rebels who want to impose a strict version of Islamic law, the Shariah. An estimated 300,000 people have fled the region.

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