(Yemen Post) — According to reports coming from the southern Yemen province of Abyan, al-Qaeda militants have punished a group of five youth for consuming narcotics by lashing them.

The group, Ansar al-Shariah, which has declared it wants to restore their own interpretation of the Sharia Law, or Islamic law, has been handing out public corporal punishment over the past few months.

A young man recently passed away after his hand was cut off as he had been accused of stealing electric cables by the Islamists.

According to al-Arabiya news channel, the punishment was carried out in a field just outside Jaar, a town under the Islamic group’s control in front of dozens of witnesses.

The militants appear to be mimicking the Taliban’s tactics, instilling fear of reprisals into the civilian population as they pervert Islam to serve their own selfish ambitions, analysts say.

After receiving 80 lashes each, the young men were released.

Residents, which have been living in fear ever since the al-Qaeda fighters occupied their town, are now living an absolute nightmare, living under the “tyrannical rule” of a group of “fanatics whose understanding of Islam is biased,” locals argue.