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Somali Militants Execute Man, Chop off Hand of Another

Al-Shabab Militants

Witnesses say al-Shabab militants in Somalia have publicly executed an accused murderer and chopped off the hand of an alleged thief.

Witnesses say hundreds of people gathered in a Mogadishu neighborhood Monday where masked gunmen executed a man by firing squad. They say the militants chopped off the hand of a second man accused of stealing property.

The Associated Press reports that nurses injected the accused thief with anesthesia before the amputation, and that waiting ambulances rushed him to a hospital afterward.

Al-Shabab and other Islamist groups control much of southern and central Somalia, which has not had a functioning central government in more than 18 years.

The hard-line militants carry out amputations, stoning and lashings as punishment The groups are trying to overthrow Somalia's Western-backed government and impose a strict form of sharia, or Islamic law on the country.

. Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991