Al-Qaeda kills 2 Yemeni ‘sorcerers’
Sanaa witch trialsSanaa witch trials

Al-Qaeda kills 2 Yemeni ‘sorcerers’

Men gunned down on suspicion of practicing magic in region controlled by Islamic extremist group

Saana, capital of Yemen (photo credit: CC BY Ai@ce/Flickr)
Saana, capital of Yemen (photo credit: CC BY Ai@ce/Flickr)

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.

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