News / Africa

Armed Militants Resume Destruction of Timbuktu Shrines

In this May 1, 2012 photo, men work alongside one of Timbuktu's historic mud mosques in Mali. In this May 1, 2012 photo, men work alongside one of Timbuktu's historic mud mosques in Mali.
x
In this May 1, 2012 photo, men work alongside one of Timbuktu's historic mud mosques in Mali.
In this May 1, 2012 photo, men work alongside one of Timbuktu's historic mud mosques in Mali.
TEXT SIZE - +
Nancy Palus
DAKAR — The militant group Ansar Dine has resumed the destruction of Muslim shrines in the northern Malian city of Timbuktu. The group attacked a shrine Tuesday at one of Timbuktu's oldest mosques, a site regularly visited by local Muslims. Residents said the group fired in the air to discourage people assembling in the city.

Residents say that around 8 a.m. local time on Tuesday, militants of the Islamist group Ansar Dine took pickaxes and shovels to what locals call one of the ancient city’s most prominent burial sites, situated at the west end of the Djingareyber mosque.

Djingareyber is one of the three most prominent mosques in Timbuktu, a capital of Islamic scholarship classified as a World Heritage site by the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO.

A resident of Timbuktu who did not want his name used for reasons of security said one of the people buried at the site was considered a powerful saint and was constantly consulted by the population of Timbuktu as well as by foreigners.

He said residents are deeply angry and offended at these acts of destruction. He said access to the mosque was completely cut off by armed men as others went about demolishing the site.

Residents said Ansar Dine gunmen fired in the air when they saw more than a few people gathering.

Ansar Dine, the Islamist group that swept into northern Mali with Tuareg separatist rebels in late March, regards such shrines as idolatrous and therefore prohibited in Islam.  Last month Ansar Dine and other Islamist groups pushed the Tuaregseparatist group MLNA out of Timbuktu and the city of Gao.

Timbuktu residents said as difficult as it is for the population to witness the destruction, local elders have advised residents not to react.

The same Timbuktu resident said the imams and elders of Timbuktu have advised the youth not to give in to what they call a provocation - they said that justice will be done in the end.  He said "we see this as wise advice, because the youths here are unarmed.  We’ve got the Sahara Desert on one side and the Niger River on the other - if clashes were to break out the people would have nowhere to run."

Just over a week ago Ansar Dine militants destroyed several Muslim shrines in Timbuktu, triggering worldwide condemnation. The assault came just after UNESCO put Timbuktu on its list of sites “in danger."

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee on July 2 called for the creation of a special fund to help Mali conserve its cultural heritage. The Committee appealed to UNESCO member states, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to give to the fund.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rolan from: France
July 10, 2012 3:44 PM
where is the UN "world heritage" clowns?
Hey, its Islam... and its here... soon it will be near you... CANADA?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid