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Mali: Life under fundamentalist Islam

February 4, 2013

It’s no bed of roses.

The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, which seized Gao in the chaotic aftermath of a March 22 military coup, ruled it for months with a fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law…

“There were patrols criss-crossing the city 24 hours a day and informants who reported the smallest gesture. As soon as you lit up a cigarette, the Islamic police came to take you away,” said Youssouf Issaka, a teacher.

The Islamists cut off Algalass Moutkel-Warata’s right hand on December 30 after someone reported he had stolen a mattress.

“I had my hand cut off on the basis of a single accusation,” said Mr Moutkel-Warata, sitting on an old mat on the floor of a run-down building on the outskirts of the city.

“It was a regime of bloodthirsty terrorists.”

“It was when they started amputating people’s hands and feet in public that the people’s shock and panic set in,” said Ibrahim Abdoulaye, a community leader.


“Up until then we thought they were just ordinary bloodthirsty maniacs.”


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