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Somalia: Islamists Yank Gold Teeth Of 'Sinners'

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The notorious Somali Islamist group al Shabaab is yanking gold and silver teeth from the mouths of people in southern Somalia for transgressing from Islamic law, Reuters reports.

Residents in Marka say al Shabaab has been rounding up anyone seen with a silver or gold tooth and taking them to a masked man who then rips them out using basic tools. "I never thought al Shabaab would see my denture as a sin. They took me to their station and removed my silver tooth," resident Bashir said.

"In the station, I met several men and women whose dentures were being pulled out by a masked man they called a doctor. The doctor used a pincer or his gloved hand depending on the strength of the tooth," Bashir said.

Here is some background information on al Shabaab from the Council on Foreign Relations:

Al-Shabaab (aka the Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin, al-Shabab, Shabaab, the Youth, Mujahidin al-Shabaab Movement, Mujahideen Youth Movement, Mujahidin Youth Movement), is an Islamic organization that controls much of southern Somalia, excluding the capital, Mogadishu. It has waged an insurgency against Somalia's transitional government and its Ethiopian supporters since 2006. Originally the militant wing of the Islamic Courts Union, the group that controlled Somalia prior to the country's invasion by Ethiopian forces, Shabaab leaders have claimed affiliation with al-Qaeda since 2007. Though most analysts believe Shabaab's organizational links to al-Qaeda are weak, in February 2008 the United States added the group to its list of foreign terrorist organizations. Shabaab's strength has growth since then, but many experts say the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from Somalia in January 2009 could diminish the group's basis for popular support.

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