Al-Qaeda in Yemen has claimed to have killed four men suspected of practising witchcraft and sorcery in an area controlled by the fighters. 

Yemeni al-Qaeda leader confirmed dead in US strike

Residents of Mayfaa town in the southeastern province of Hadramout said on Saturday that al-Qaeda fighters had distributed a pamphlet naming the four men.

It did not say when the killings were carried out, but a neighbour of one of the victims told the AFP news agency that he had been missing for days.

"We have implemented Allah's ruling against them, which is the death sentence," said the flyer that was also posted on walls in the area.

"We call upon all Muslims to cooperate with us against this widespread depravity," it said.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, has overran large parts of Hadramout, including Mukalla, the coastal provincial capital.

It imposed a strict version of Islamic law, executing or lashing those they accused of various crimes, among them homosexuality and sorcery.

Those accused of theft have their hands cut off.

The United States considers AQAP as the most dangerous affiliate of the al-Qaeda network.

It is active across several parts of Yemen, taking advantage of the collapse of central authority during the 2011 uprising that ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Source: AFP