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.
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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid