Jihadists in a number of villages under Islamist control in northern Mali have banned smoking in public and are caning offenders, according to the Ani Mauritian daily.
Mali's Ansar Dine Islamist group, earlier this year took over the country's north with separatist Tuareg rebels. The United Nations Security Council last week said it would “examine” the African Union’s proposals for intervention in Mali., but did not to give formal approval.
According to a witness in the town of Bourem, Islamists "on Friday seized cigarettes and cigars in a market, setting them on fire and caning some smokers," the Ani report said.
Another person interviewed for the report said he "was hit 40 times for violating the smoking ban."
The United States has been using small unmarked aircraft to spy on Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in northern Africa, according to the Washington Post.