BAMAKO, Mali - Islamists controlling Mali's northern city of Timbuktu have begun arresting women not wearing a veil and have ordered any women caught out in the street late at night to be jailed, residents report.
"The Islamists are today criss-crossing the town's market and arresting girls not wearing a veil," El Mehdi Cisse, a resident of the Djinguerey Ber neighbourhood, said by phone on Thursday.
Any woman seen on the street after 11pm would be taken to prison and must pay a fine, he added, citing an edict from the Ansar Dine Islamists, who have ties with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
"Since last night, they've visited imams to tell them that from now on all girls must be decently dressed," said another resident Boubacar Yattara.
The imams were also told of the creation of a "women's prison" and different fines for contravening "Islamic law", one imam said.
The move is the latest in a series hardline rules imposed by jihadists and radical Islamists in Mali's north, where sharia law has been enforced.
Amnesty International on Thursday decried what it said was an increase in violence and severe punishments in the north.