Malians may be celebrating the liberation of Timbuktu, however some could be mourning the loss of artefacts destroyed by the Islamist rebels as they fled the city.
Two hundred Malian soldiers alongside 1,000 French troops entered the city, named as an endangered world heritage site by UNESCO.
The fleeing militants destroyed the tomb of Saint Sidi Mahmoudou and set fire to mosques and the Ahmed Baba Institute, a library containing many historical documents.
A librarian at the Ahmed Baba Institute described being told about the destruction: “ ‘We destroyed everything. We destroyed the mosque. We destroyed things that are more than 300, 400 years old,’ they said, because their religion doesn’t accept that (the artefacts).”
Timbuktu is home to some 20,000 manuscripts, some dating back as far as the 12th century. Militants destroyed some which had not been hidden away.
UNESCO spokesman Roni Amelan said the Paris-based UN cultural agency was “horrified” by the news of the fire, but was awaiting a full assessment of the damage.
The Ahmed Baba Institute, one of several libraries and collections in Timbuktu containing fragile documents dating back to the 13th century, is named after a Timbuktu-born contemporary of William Shakespeare.
The French and Malians have encountered no resistance so far in Timbuktu. But they will now have to comb through a labyrinth of ancient mosques, monuments, mud-brick homes and narrow alleyways to flush out any hiding fighters.
British troops could form part of an EU military training mission in Mali or assist in training soldiers in the west African regional bloc ECOWAS.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has sent a security advisor to meet with French President François Hollande to discuss a deployment.
Up to 240 British troops could be deployed as part of two missions to train African troops, 40 in Mali as part of a European Union mission, and a further 200 in anglophone West African countries, Cameron’s spokesman said.
At least 70 more British personnel could be involved in logistical and support missions. “It is an African operation in support of the Malian government and we think that the right way to do this is for regionally-led forces to take the lead,” the spokesman said, adding Britons would take no combat role.
The increased logistical support for France includes a ferry to transport troops and equipment to Africa, and allowing France and its allies to use Britain for air-to-air refuelling.
Copyright © 2015 euronewsMore about:
- 1Six French skiers perish in deadly Alpine avalanche
- 2Greek elections: SYRIZA on course to win, but may fall short of majority
- 3Soaring Swiss franc may leave EU mortgage holders homeless
- 4Dresden holds first PEGIDA protest since founder’s ‘Adolf Hitler’ photo blunder
- 5Looming Syriza victory gets mixed reactions in Athens
- 1Where do YOU rank on the world’s wealth scale?
- 2Kyiv claims victory in new battle for control of Donetsk airport
- 3Anti-Charlie protests turn violent in Niger, Pakistan and Algeria
- 4Pope Francis says Catholics don’t need to breed ‘like rabbits’
- 5Pupil power shames police in Nairobi as Kenyan school protest goes global
- 1The power of the pen: Cartoonists worldwide react to the Charlie Hebdo attack | euronews, world news
- 2euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 3Immigration, racism in sport and the rise of extremism – Cantona shares his views | euronews, interview
- 4[LIVE] 12 dead after gun attack at French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo | euronews, world news
- 5[LIVE NOW] Massive unity rally in Paris, with similar marches in other French cities | euronews, world news
- 6Muslim groups fear backlash after terrorist attacks in Paris | euronews, news
- 7[LIVE] Confusion over reports two killed in Paris shootout, as police close in on Charlie Hebdo suspects | euronews, world news
- 8Medieval Bruges is to get its own underground beer pipeline | euronews, world news
- 9Almost four million turn out for unity rallies across France | euronews, world news
- 10International breaking news | euronews online world breaking news in video
- 11“ISIL is the baby of George W Bush” | euronews, news
- 12NewsWires : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 13A defiant Charlie Hebdo: it’s not the front page the terrorists would’ve wanted | euronews, world news
- 14Key questions around the Charlie Hebdo killings go unanswered | euronews, world news
- 15France: Angouleme council takes down anti-homeless cages around benches after outcry | euronews, world news
- 16HarperCollins wipes Israel off the map | euronews, world news
- 17euronews apps : iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Nokia S40, Nokia Asha, Smart TV and Google Glass
- 18eurovibes - a selection of Europe’s best music talent
- 19Grim task of retrieving bodies after wreckage of missing AirAsia plane found | euronews, world news
- 20Charlie Hebdo: Israeli paper deletes women from Paris march | euronews, world news
Wires > News
- 01:48 CET Greek leftist leader Tsipras claims victory over austerity
- 01:06 CET UK stars from Sting to Emma Thompson call on PM to help Syrian…
- 23:07 CET Afghan air force ascent slow, imperilling battle with Taliban
- 22:14 CET CSI Lahore – U.S. forensics big shot comes home to help Pakistan
- 21:08 CET Nigeria repels suspected Boko Haram attack on Maiduguri city
- 21:00 CET Honduran president says military crackdown has cut murder rate
- 20:44 CET Talks to end Yemen’s political crisis falter
- 20:23 CET Netanyahu defends planned Congress speech as anti-Iran strategy