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the tomb of Saint Sidi Mahmoudou and set fire to mosques and the Ahmed Baba Institute, a library containing many historical documents.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.
- 1Saakashvili warns of Odessa region’s importance to Ukraine
- 2Greece: with referendum looming ‘Yes’ vote ahead, opinion poll suggests
- 3Finland tops European countries in latest happiness survey
- 4Tsipras: ‘no’ vote will mean a better deal with lenders
- 5Thousands rally in France in support of Greek “no” vote
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Spain’s first case of diphtheria in 30 years: parents of six-year-old ‘oppose vaccines’
- 3Greek debt crisis is “absolute supremacy of capital over humans”
- 4[Live updates] NGO flotilla bids to break Israeli blockade of Gaza
- 5[LIVE UPDATES] Greek debt deadline looms
- 6Large Hadron Collider ready to embark on an unprecedented voyage of discovery
- 7Istanbul Gay pride quashed by riot police, rubber bullets and water cannon
- 8[LIVE UPDATES] France: man decapitated, several wounded in chemical plant attack
- 9Israel prepares to repel boarders as ‘Freedom Flotilla 3’ tries to run Gaza blockade
- 10NewsWires : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 11Greek debt summit – Live updates
- 12‘Distractingly sexy’ scientists hit back in lab chemistry polemic
- 13Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria focus of EU cash fraud probes
- 14Interpol issues ‘red notice’ for accused ex-FIFA bosses
- 15Summit up in Brussels as Greek proposals give food for thought and rumours fly
- 16Battle of Waterloo, live-tweeting 200 years on
- 17Greek PM faces day of crucial bailout talks in Brussels
- 18Citizens take power in Spain’s largest cities as a political revolution sweeps the country
- 19Italy discovers biggest illegal waste dump in Europe
- 20Greek banks, stock exchange will not open on Monday, Tsipras announces
Wires > News
- 19:08 CET After Tunisia attack, sun-seekers switch to Spain, Bulgaria and…
- 18:47 CET Hague judges give warlord’s lawyers more time to prepare
- 18:35 CET West wants to remove Russian government from power – Kremlin…
- 18:31 CET U.N. calls on Israel, Palestinians to prosecute Gaza war crimes
- 17:48 CET Saudi policeman killed during security raid – SPA agency
- 17:35 CET Congo’s opposition slaps conditions on national dialogue
- 17:11 CET Ecuador, first stop on Pope tour, highlights environment…
- 16:13 CET A week after Kuwait bombing, Sunnis and Shi’ites pray together for…