By BABA AHMED, The Associated Press
BAMAKO, Mali -- Radical Islamists in northern Mali executed a man on Tuesday evening who had been accused of killing someone, a punishment that was witnessed by about 600 people in the town of Timbuktu.

The public execution was the latest move by the militants to impose their strict interpretation of Islamic Shariah law. Previously the Islamists have stoned to death a couple accused of adultery, and carried out at least eight amputations.

Oumar Maiga, a resident of Timbuktu, said the convicted man was shot in the back Tuesday evening but did not die until several hours later.

The family of the man, a Tuareg who was a member of a separatist rebel group, had offered compensation to the victim's family but it had not been accepted.

He was brought in handcuffs to an area between two hotels in Timbuktu and seated with his legs pointed toward Mecca before a judge then ordered the sentence to be carried out.

The al-Qaida-linked militants seized control of northern Mali earlier this year, taking advantage of a power vacuum in the distant capital back in March when mutinous soldiers overthrew the democratically elected government.

The north of Mali has become increasingly repressive in recent months, according to human rights groups.

Also Tuesday, Islamists gave 20 lashings to four people in the town of Douentza who had been accused of drinking beer.

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