BAMAKO - Agence France-Presse
The Islamic center and a mosque in Timbuktu is seen in this photo. Al-Qaeda linked militants destroy centuries-old mausoleums. AFP photo
Militants in northern Mali took hoes and chisels to the tombs of ancient Muslim saints in the city of Timbuktu for a second day, ignoring international pleas to halt their campaign of destruction.
After smashing three ancient tombs on June 30, the militants who consider the World Heritage shrines idolatrous, set about wrecking four mausoleums at the cemetery of Djingareyber, a local journalist
told Agence France-Presse. Mali’s government and the international community have expressed horror and outrage at the destruction of cultural treasures in the fabled city, an ancient desert crossroads and center of learning known as the “City of 333 Saints.” On June 30 the militants destroyed the tombs of Sidi Mahmoud, Sidi Moctar and Alpha Moya, and yesterday attacked Cheikh el-Kebir’s mausoleum as residents stood by helplessly. Their presence in Timbuktu prompted UNESCO to list the city as an endangered site because of the continuing violence in northern Mali and in the wake of an attack on a 15th century tomb in May.