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The United Nations has promised to help rebuild Mali’s cultural heritage destroyed by Islamist militants.

As the rebels fled from French and Malian forces, they destroyed many of Timbuktu’s legendary world heritage sites.

In acts reminiscent of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Islamists had bulldozed mausoleums and burned some ancient manuscripts.

Now, Lazare Eloundou, the head of UNESCO’s Africa unit says work must be done to help Mali recover.

UNESCO will send a mission to assess the situation and define the immediate urgent priorities, in close cooperation with the local communities who have been maintaining this site for the past thousand years.”

Although, the vast majority of Timbuktu’s
ancient manuscripts have apparently been unharmed, many vital documents and books have been torched.

Sane Chirfi, a former researcher at the Islamic Research Institute said: “There is geometry, medicine, history, geography, fairy tales.. And what’s more secret than this are the sale certificates for slaves and the expropriation certificates.”

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