Ancient Timbuktu Manuscripts Are Mostly Safe After All, University Says

The University of Cape Town said on Wednesday that most of the manuscripts that were believed to have been destroyed this week by Islamist rebels fleeing the Malian city of Timbuktu were safe after all. The South African university, which helped finance a library containing many of the texts, contradicted early news reports suggesting that the rebels had destroyed scores of the ancient texts. The university said library caretakers worked quietly during the recent rebel occupation to ensure that the documents were kept safe.

“The protection of the cultural and intellectual heritage of this region needs to be enhanced and promoted,” the university said. “The abandonment of the security of Timbuktu nine months ago, the flight of archivists and researchers, and the closure of libraries should not be repeated.”

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