Northern Mali has been totally occupied by Islamist groups, which are determined to install Islamic law by force.
These groups, Ansar Dine, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), have occupied and shared out since late March the north, where they have toppled the Tuareg rebels of the region.
They are determined to impose Sharia throughout Mali.
May MUJAO members prevent some youths from playing football and watching television in Gao, provoking violent anti-Islamic demonstrations.
June 14-15 Islamists from MUJAO confiscate and burn cartons of cigarettes and whip those caught smoking as they enforce strict Islamic law.
June 20 Ansar Dine says it is not interested in proclaiming an independent state but only in the implementation of sharia.
A couple receives 100 lashes of a whip for having a child out of wedlock as Islamists continue enforcing sharia.
July 16 A Timbuktu man accused of drinking alcohol is given 40 lashes by members of Ansar Dine.
July 29 Islamists in northern Mali stone an unmarried couple in the centre of the town of Aguelhok.