, MOGADISHU, Jan 22 – Somalia\\\’s Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab Islamists on Thursday publicly chopped off the right hand of a man accused of stealing mobile phones, witnesses and officials said.
The punishment took place in the southern port town of Merka under the control of the extremist group, and where they have imposed strict Sharia, or Islamic law.
"This punishment is part of broad effort to implement Sharia in the country. Anybody who steals gets his hands chopped off," said Sheikh Isa Mohamed, a Shebab official.
The judge in the Islamic court in the region announced the sentence after the convict confessed to the charges against him.
Witnesses said that Yusuf Sheikh Ahmed, 30, was brought before a crowd, then had his right hand chopped off with a big knife.
The convict was then taken to a hospital after the punishment, Ali said.
Four other people accused of taking alcohol and drugs were whipped between 40 and 80 times each.
The Shebaba control large swaths of Somalia\\\’s southern and central regions.