An unmarried couple were stoned to death in public in northeast Mali by Islamists, the first such known occurrence since 2012, local officials said today. "The Islamists dug two holes where they put the man and the woman who lived maritally without being married," a local official told AFP about the incident yesterday. "They were stoned to death." The stoning happened in Taghlit, close to Aguelhok in the Kidal region, and the same source said that members of the public were invited to take part. "Four people threw stones at them until they died," they said. Another local official confirmed the information, saying the Islamists had accused the unmarried couple of violating "Islamic law", which requires punishment by stoning. Northern Mali fell to jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in March 2012, and although they were driven out of key towns by a French-led military intervention the following year, the Islamists have regrouped and now have spread further south. During their brief control of key towns in the vast north, jihadist groups imposed a version of Sharia law which forced women to wear veils and set whipping and stoning as punishment for transgressions. In July 2012, the Ansar Dine group stoned a couple in public in Aguelhok who they accused of having children outside marriage.
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