Islamist Rebels Burn Timbuktu Library Containing Ancient Manuscripts

Islamist extremists torched a South Africa-financed library in Mali’s Saharan city of Timbuktu that contained scores of ancient manuscripts, the city’s mayor said on Monday. The rebels set fire to the building as they fled French and Malian troops who were securing the city, which had been occupied since a militant uprising last year. The building is one of several housing manuscripts dating to the 13th century that document West African history and culture.

“The rebels set fire to the newly-constructed Ahmed Baba Institute built by the South Africans … this happened four days ago,” Halle Ousmane told Reuters by telephone from Bamako. He said he had received the information from his chief of communications who had travelled south from the city a day ago.

Ousmane was not able to immediately say how much the concrete building had been damaged. He added the rebels also torched his office and the home of a member of parliament.

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