Just two weeks after French and Malian troops took back towns in the North of Mali -- residents in Gao still live in fear.
For ten months under Islamist rule they were forced to live under Sharia law.
Those suspected of crimes like stealing -- faced a harsh form of justice.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) AMPUTEE, ALZUMA ISSA, SAYING:
"They brought me to Independence Place. That's the place for sharia. It's there that they cut off my hand. Without a shot, without an injection, they tied up my two feet and my two hands, that's how they cut me. I panicked."
Over the weekend, Islamists launched a surprise attack on the town, a reminder that while the threat may have moved on -- it has not gone away.
For some -- the legacy of Islamist rule -- is something they will remember every day.