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Converted Christian Woman Recovers After Public Flogging by Somalia's al-Shabab

A recently converted Christian woman is currently nursing her injuries after being publicly flogged by Somalia militants.

The Somali woman, who converted from Islam to Christianity, was reportedly paraded before a cheering crowd and publicly flogged. This punishment took place for the woman’s embracing of a "foreign religion."

Local Christians said 28-year-old Sofia Osman from Janale city in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region had been taken into custody by fighters of the Islamic militant group al-Shabab militants last November.

Sofia’s prison release was marked by the public mistreatment by al-Shabab.

Compass Direct News, a Christian news agency investigating cases of religious persecution, cited witnesses who saw the incident take place on Dec. 22. They said that Sofia received 40 lashes all "while jeered by spectators."

One witness stated that, "I saw her faint. I thought she had died, but soon she regained consciousness and her family took her away."

When Sofia returned to her family’s home, she was reportedly seen looking dazed and did not speak to anyone.

No immediate comments have come from the al-Shabab militant group yet. This group is notable for enforcing a strict brand of Islam in areas under its rule. The group is also believed to have links to the al-Qaida terrorist group.

The al-Shabab has been linked to the mistreatment and killings of several Christians in recent years. It has also blocked most international aid workers from accessing parts of Somalia suffering from drought and famine.

Earlier this week, the U.S. charged a former U.S. Army major for trying to join al-Shabab. He was detained by Kenyan police last month on his way to the border with Somalia.

This militant organization’s extreme political and religious viewpoints have inspired fear into the locals of their region. This flogging incident is another case of the group's extreme forms of punishment.

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