ADEN, Yemen — Al-Qaeda gunmen have killed two people in southeast Yemen because they believed they were practicing witchcraft and sorcery, which are forbidden under Islam, a security official told AFP on Sunday.
The killings took place late on Saturday in the town of Shehr in Hadramawt province, the official said.
“Al-Qaeda gunmen on a motorbike opened fire on Omar Abdelhafiz, killing him immediately,” the official said.
Several hours later, two other extremists killed another Shehr resident, hairdresser Saeed al-Hadrami, the source added.
Jihadists had several times threatened both men, accusing them of “practicing witchcraft and sorcery,” the official said.
Taking advantage of a collapse of central authority during a 2011 uprising that forced veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh from power, al-Qaeda seized swaths of the south and east.
The militants imposed a strict version of Islamic law, executing or lashing those they accused of various crimes, including homosexuality and sorcery.
Those accused of theft had hands cut off.