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Destination Details

Gao, Mali

The people of Gao endured nine months of amputations and floggings under the rule of Islamist rebels – much of it aimed at ethnic groups

The jihadis carried out amputations in the sandy square where the residents of Gao used to watch basketball. The men who ruled Gao for nine months, until French and Malian troops drove them out, replaced the words "Place de l'Indépendence" in the green, red and yellow of the national flag with simple white on black: Place de la Sharia. A thief would lose his right hand. Those accused of burglary would lose both their right hand and left foot. At least 12 men had hands or feet cut off after MUJAO (Movement for Jihad and Unity), and its allies in AQIM (al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb), took control of Gao last April 2012.

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