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the tomb of Saint Sidi Mahmoudou and set fire to mosques and the Ahmed Baba Institute, a library containing many historical documents.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.
- 1Chomsky says US is world’s biggest terrorist
- 2One of five suspects charged after Melbourne anti-terror raids
- 3Exclusive: choose between co-operation and confrontation, Iran’s Foreign Minister warns
- 4Foreigners flee xenophobic attacks in South Africa
- 5International lenders raise pressure on Greece as cash crunch looms
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Chomsky – a rebel with a cause | euronews, world news
- 3Chomsky says US is world’s biggest terrorist | euronews, the global conversation
- 4[LIVE] Germanwings passenger jet crashes in southern France, 148 people on board – authorities | euronews, world news
- 5Europe is ‘bluffing’ over Greece-Russia relations – analyst | euronews, news
- 6French Alps plane crash treated as suicide and mass murder by co-pilot | euronews, world news
- 7Why is Bulgaria the EU’s most unhappy country? | euronews, world news
- 8eurovibes - a selection of Europe’s best music talent
- 9Former IMF chief ‘under investigation for money laundering’ | euronews, world news
- 10Greece’s claim for war reparations from Germany explained | euronews, world news
- 11International news | euronews, latest international news
- 12Pope Francis washes Rome prisoners’ feet on Holy Thursday | euronews, world news
- 13ECB chief Mario Draghi unhurt after protest during speech | euronews, world news
- 14International tv news | euronews: European and International tv news bulletin
- 15Reaching new heights: Parents in India scale walls to ‘help students cheat’ | euronews, world news
- 16Germanwings press conference mystery: what wasn’t he supposed to say? | euronews, world news
- 17French prosecutor: Germanwings co-pilot appears to have crashed plane deliberately | euronews, world news
- 18Woman carries can of water on her head along Paris marathon | euronews, world news
- 19[Live updates] France plane crash: damaged black box ‘can provide information’ | euronews, world news
- 20Fighting Boko Haram: Chad aims to ‘destroy’ militant group | euronews, world news
Wires > News
- 09:53 CET Up to 700 feared dead after migrant boat sinks off Libya -newspaper
- 08:57 CET UN investigation finds corruption in Afghan police oversight…
- 03:00 CET Mexico confirms capture of Gulf Cartel leader
- 02:23 CET Thousands in Germany protest against Europe-U.S. trade deal
- 22:27 CET Greece wants EU/IMF deal but impasse could bring referendum -…
- 20:12 CET Islamist group claims attack on U.N. peacekeepers in Mali
- 18:17 CET French customs seize record 2.25 tonnes of cocaine off Martinique
- 17:49 CET Zimbabwe’s Mugabe says bonuses for public workers to stay