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Man lashed 100 times in Timbuktu rape case

BAMAKO, Mali — A man accused of rape in the Malian city of Timbuktu received 100 lashes Friday, according to witnesses, as a radical Islamic group controlling the country’s northern half continued its campaign of applying strict Islamic law known as Sharia.

The latest punishment after a visit to Mali by investigators from the International Criminal Court who are studying whether the country’s armed groups have committed crimes against humanity.

The man who was whipped, identified as a Burkina Faso citizen named Boubacar El-Bourkinabiyoune, was brought into Timbuktu’s public square Friday morning, witnesses said. Members of the radical Ansar Dine group, which seized control of the city in April, said that if the accused had been married, they would have stoned him to death, said resident Aboubacrine Yattara.

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Contacted by phone, a second witness Mohamed Toure confirmed that he had also seen the lashing.

Northern Mali fell into the hands of a mixture of Islamic groups in March and April, after a coup in the capital, Bamako, 700 miles away.

About 30,000 people have fled fighting in northern Mali and are desperately in need of food aid, according to Valerie Amos, United Nations undersecretary and emergency relief coordinator.

She was in Mali two days and said that in addition to those who fled the north, there are 4.6 million people who are affected by food shortages. She said the United Nations sought $213 million in relief aid, but less than half that amount has been provided.