he Somalia based Islamist group al-Shabab introduced another law as part of efforts to entrench its authority in districts it controls. This time, it has banned men and women from shaking hands.

Before now, the group banned music in areas that it controls, which include most of central and southern Somalia.

Under the latest ban imposed in the southern town of Jowhar, the BBC reports that men and women who are not related are also barred from walking together or talking together in public.

“It is the first time such social restrictions have been introduced,” BBC says.

According to al-Shabab, those who flout the new rules would be punished based on the Sharia law, which reports say would likely be a public flogging.

Somalia has had an unstable government since 1991 and the UN-backed government only controls parts of the capital Mogadishu and a few other areas.

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