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the tomb of Saint Sidi Mahmoudou and set fire to mosques and the Ahmed Baba Institute, a library containing many historical documents.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 © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1Japan sounds bluefin warning, calls for 50% catch cut
- 2Ukraine: Mariupol digs trenches, prepares to defend city
- 3EU leaders name Donald Tusk European Council president
- 4Russia hits back at Canada after sarcastic jibe over Ukraine crisis
- 5Canada sends hilarious barb to Russia over Ukraine ‘incursions’
- 1#ن: How an Arabic letter was reclaimed to support Iraq’s persecuted Christians | euronews, world news
- 2Ellen MacArthur: making waves on a journey to a circular economy | euronews, the global conversation
- 3Hoverbike on the horizon | euronews, hi-tech
- 4China executes eight Muslims convicted of terrorism | euronews, world news
- 5Putin T-Shirts flying off the shelves at Moscow megastore | euronews, world news
- 6Everything you need to know about the Ebola virus | euronews, world news
- 7Japan sounds bluefin warning, calls for 50% catch cut | euronews, world news
- 8Ukraine accuses Russian aid convoy of stealing factory equipment | euronews, world news
- 9Massive Swedish forest fire is declared a national emergency | euronews, world news
- 10Man, 27, fails in suicide bid after tigers reject chance to eat him | euronews, world news
- 11Risk of fresh ash cloud threatens European air travel | euronews, world news
- 12Canada sends hilarious barb to Russia over Ukraine ‘incursions’ | euronews, world news
- 13Iceland warns Europe’s airlines of possible volcanic eruption | euronews, world news
- 14Beyond the subconscious | euronews, futuris
- 15Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland continues to rumble | euronews, world news
- 16Poland wants compensation from the EU for Russian import ban | euronews, world news
- 17EU’s Russia sanctions doing more harm than good says Hungary’s PM Orban | euronews, world news
- 18Greek farmers suffer in economic war between Russia and EU | euronews, economy
- 19EU leaders name Donald Tusk European Council president | euronews, world news
- 20Turkish ferry makes high-speed final landing | euronews, no comment
Wires > News
- 08:21 CET Bahrain detains Shi’ite rights activist on arrival at airport
- 07:40 CET Macau ‘re-elects’ new leader as authorities stifle democratic…
- 05:04 CET Fukushima fallout: Resentment grows in nearby Japanese city
- 04:57 CET Philippine peacekeepers rescued from militants on Golan -U.N
- 01:16 CET Lesotho PM says army staged coup, flees to South Africa
- 01:03 CET Seriously ill boy taken from UK hospital found in Spain – police
- 00:14 CET Islamic State militants behead captive Lebanese soldier – video
- 23:25 CET Modi seeks Japan’s help for ‘inclusive vision’ on first big trip