Full warning has been given, and time is running out President Bush Somalis watch double amputations Two of the accused, being guarded Witnesses estimated the age of the four men at between 18 and 25 Hardline Islamists in Somalia have carried out double amputations on four men for stealing phones and guns. They have each had a hand and foot cut off after being convicted by a Sharia court in the capital earlier this week. More then 300 people, mainly women and children, watched as masked men cut off their limbs with a machete. The four men reportedly admitted to the robberies, but were not represented by a lawyer and were not allowed to appeal against their sentence. The al-Shabab group, which controls much of southern Somalia, has carried out amputations, floggings and an execution in the southern port of Kismayo but such punishments are rare in the capital. 'Help, help, help!' one of them shouted Eyewitness Mohamed Abdi Somali justice - Islamist-style The amputations were carried out in the open in front of an al-Shabab military camp in the north-east of Mogadishu. A local resident said the four men cried out during and after the amputations. Each man had his right hand and left foot cut off. "'Help, help, help!' one of them shouted," Mohamed Abdi told the BBC. Eyewitnesses estimate the age of the four men - Aden Mohamud, Ismail Khalif , Jeylani Mohamed, and Abdulkadir Adow - to be between 18 and 25. Mr Abdi said the whole process took about an hour to complete. 'Warning' Human rights lobby group Amnesty International had urged al-Shabab not to carry out the amputations after the men had been convicted on Monday. But on Tuesday mosques in the area announced through their loud speakers that the amputations would take place at 0800 local time on Thursday. map Somali president calls emergency Should troops enter Somalia? Al-Shabab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage told journalists that the amputations were a warning to all thieves. "If they are caught red-handed in similar circumstances, they will face amputation," he said. He also said al-Shabab would look after the welfare of the amputees. On Monday, the court had said it was too hot for the sentence to be carried out on that day as an amputation in such conditions could lead the accused to bleed to death. The punishments carried out in Kismayo have shocked many Somalis, who traditionally practise a more tolerant form of Islam than al-Shabab's strict Wahabi interpretation. Onlookers at the amputation in Mogadishu on Thursday declined to comment when asked for their reaction. President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a moderate Islamist, took office in January but even his introduction of Sharia law to the strongly Muslim country has not appeased the hardliners. The government has not carried out any amputations under its version of Sharia. Since 7 May, al-Shabab and its allies have been locked in ferocious battles with pro-government forces. The president has declared a state of emergency and has appealed to Somalia's neighbours to send troops to help.

US governor admits having affair Mark Sanford admits to visiting his Argentine lover The Republican governor of the US state of South Carolina, has admitted to having an extra-marital affair with a woman from Argentina. Mark Sanford disappeared for several days, but did not tell family and staff he had been visiting Argentina. He says he will now resign as head of the Republican Governors' Association. Mr Sanford, who had been a potential Republican candidate for the 2012 presidential elections, did not say whether he would be leaving his office. In an emotional news conference, Mr Sanford said he had "let down a lot of people". He said he had been having an affair for about a year with a "dear friend" he first met "very innocently" eight years ago. Justin Webb I hereby challenge someone to come up with a serious name for 2012. First person to post the correct result gets a prize (in 2012) Justin Webb BBC North America Editor Read Justin's thoughts in full "I've been unfaithful to my wife," he said, adding that he had spent the last five days "crying in Argentina". Mr Sanford said what he had done was wrong. "Period. End of story." He said his wife and family had known of the affair for the past five months and that he was resigning his post of chair of the RGA. 'Something exotic' Mr Sanford was missing for several days from late last week, with attempts to establish his whereabouts making headline news. His staff had said he was walking on the Appalachian Trail in the east of the US, while his wife said she did not know where he had gone. On Wednesday, Mr Sanford admitted he had been on a private visit to Argentina because he had "wanted to do something exotic". I developed a relationship with... a dear, dear friend from Argentina and as a consequence I hurt her, I hurt you all, I hurt my wife, I hurt my boys, I hurt a lot of different folks Mark Sanford He said he had not ordered his staff to cover for him, allowing them to continue in the belief had gone hiking. "I let them down by creating a fiction with regard to where I was going," Mr Sanford said. A South Carolina newspaper, The State, has published excerpts of e-mails between Mr Sanford and the woman. The governor's office said it would not dispute the authenticity of the exchanges. One from Mr Sanford said:" You are special and unique and fabulous in a whole host of ways that are worth a much longer conversation." In another, he writes: "In the meantime, please sleep soundly knowing that despite the best efforts of my head my heart cries out for you, your voice, your body, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips and an even deeper connection to your soul." Judgement questioned The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says Mr Sanford is known for enjoying spending time on his own. But his decision to leave South Carolina without a leader for several days had left many questioning his judgement and may have cost him his future career, our correspondent says. Mr Sanford has more than a year left in his second term as governor and is constitutionally barred from standing for office again, but has not said whether he will stand down. The governor had battled the Obama administration but was forced by a court ruling earlier this year to accept $700m in stimulus money from the federal government. "This decision is terrible news for every taxpayer in South Carolina, and even more so for future taxpayers who will ultimately bear the responsibility of paying for this so-called 'stimulus' without seeing any benefit from it," he said in a statement at the time. Mr Sanford's resignation is the latest problem to beset the Republican party. Last week, Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada admitted to an extra-marital affair with a member of his campaign staff. http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/startquote.gif