In April, Tuareg rebels and radical Islamists forced government troops out of the northern region of Mali.The rebels declared independence from Mali and named Africa’s newest country Azawad while the jihadists said they were “against independence” because it was “not in the name of Islam.”
The al-Qaeda-backed group, Ansar Dine, has won out and are now implementing sharia law (a strict form of Islamic law), leading to public executions, amputations and floggings.
BBC reports that they are amassing money from ransoms and drug trafficking and buying children for $600 each to use as soldiers.
They also banned music and residents are flogged for smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol.
In August Islamist commissioner Aliou Toure said that they “don’t have to answer to anyone over the application of sharia” because it’s “the form of Islam practiced for thousands of years.”
[UPDATE 3:50 p.m.] The Associated Press reports that “the U.N. security council has unanimously approved a plan to back an African-led military force to help the Malian army oust Islamic militants.”
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