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Mali Condemns Attempt to Cut Off Hand of Alleged Thief in North

Mali’s government condemned an attempt by Islamists in the northern city of Gao to cut off the hand of a man accused of being a thief, according to an e-mailed statement today.

Residents in the city protested the planned amputation, Kader Toure, a trader in Gao, said by phone.

The Islamist groups, Ansar ud-Din and MUJAO, decided not to go ahead with the punishment in order to halt the protests, Oumar Hamaha, a spokesman for the organizations, said by phone. He denied that they were re-thinking a plan to implement Shariah law, which includes amputations as penalty for stealing, in the region.

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