New Age Islam
Sun Aug 09 2020, 06:56 AM

Radical Islamism and Jihad ( 15 Nov 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Mali's History Goes Up In Flames: Pictures Show Priceless Texts Torched By Islamist Fighters Fleeing French Forces at Timbuktu

 

By Matt Blake and Sam Webb

3 February 2013

These pictures show the scorched remains of priceless historical documents torched by Islamist fighters before they fled French troops as they closed in on Timbuktu.

The extremists set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless historic manuscripts as they fled French and Malian forces.

Without firing a shot, 1,000 French soldiers backed by 200 Malian troops descended on the ancient desert trading post, as they tried to cut off the escape of al Qaeda-linked fighters.

But, before they could be rounded up, the rebels scattered into the desert, torching homes, mosques and libraries, including parts of the city's £16-million Ahmed Baba Institute, home to some 20,000 ancient documents on culture, science and geography, as they left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A museum guard displays a burnt ancient manuscript at the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu. The majority of the ancient manuscripts appear to be safe and undamaged after fears the site was gutted by fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A local man, Abdoulaye Cisse, holds a book for photographers. Jihadists claimed they burned most of the holy books, but the damage is not as bad as feared

French President Francois Hollande visited the Djingarei-ber Mosque and the Ahmed Baba Institute, yesterday.

He said it was essential that Timbuktu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, should be properly protected so that it could 'shine' as a cultural treasure for the world.

Built by the South African government in 2009, the Ahmed Baba Institute was named after a Timbuktu-born contemporary of William Shakespeare and holds thousands of priceless manuscripts in its climate-controlled, underground vaults.

During their rule, the militants have systematically destroyed UNESCO World Heritage sites in Timbuktu.

A spokesman for the Al Qaeda-linked militants has said that ancient tombs of Sufi saints were destroyed because they contravened Islam, encouraging Muslims to venerate saints instead of God.

Among the tombs they destroyed is that of Sidi Mahmoudou, a saint who died in 955, according to the UNESCO website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relief: The majority of Timbuktu's ancient manuscripts appear to be safe and undamaged after the Saharan city's 10-month occupation by Islamist rebel fighters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the manuscripts. They are so culturally and historically significant they have been compared to the Dead Sea Scrolls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erasing history: Ancient manuscripts displayed at the library in the city of Timbuktu. Many such priceless manuscripts were feared burned by the fleeing Islamist fighters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

France's President Francois Hollande (sixth from right) visits the Ahmed Baba Institute yesterday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A museum guard picks up boxes holding ancient manuscripts, which were partially damaged by Islamist rebels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the carnage seen here, the majority of Timbuktu's ancient manuscripts appear to be safe from harm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Battle ready: Malian soldiers arrive at Gao airport, north of Mali as they joined French forces in a push toward the fabled desert town of Timbuktu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough job: But despite facing little of no resistance so far, French and Malian troops face a tough job of combing through the labyrinth of ancient mosques, monuments and mud-brick homes between alleys to flush out any hiding Islamist fighters

Ground forces backed by French paratroopers and helicopters took control of Timbuktu's airport and roads leading to the desert town in an overnight operation.

But despite facing little of no resistance so far, they face a tough job of combing through the labyrinth of ancient mosques and monuments and mud-brick homes between alleys to flush out any hiding Islamist fighters.

'We have to be extremely careful. But in general terms, the necessary elements are in place to take control,' French army spokesman Lieutenant Thierry Burkhard said in Paris.

Timbuktu Member of Parliament El Hadj Baba Haïdara told Reuters in Bamako the Islamist rebels had abandoned the city.

'They all fled. Before their departure they destroyed some buildings, including private homes,' he said.

The move marked the latest inroad by the two-week-old French mission to oust radical Islamists from the northern half of Mali, which they seized more than nine months ago.

The RAF has already provided two heavy-lift C17 transport planes and a Sentinel surveillance aircraft to assist France's operation, and National Security Adviser Sir Kim Darroch was today in Paris to discuss what further help may be offered.

Mr Cameron has said the UK is ready to offer logistical, intelligence and surveillance help to France, as well as troops for a proposed EU mission to train the Malian army - although he has ruled out a combat role for British personnel.

The world was shocked by its capture on April 1 by Tuareg desert fighters whose separatist rebellion was later hijacked by Islamist radicals who imposed severe sharia law.

Provoking international outrage, the Islamist militants who follow a more conservative Salafist branch of Islam destroyed dozens of ancient shrines in Timbuktu sacred to moderate Sufi Moslems, condemning them as idolatrous and un-Islamic.

They also applied amputations for thieves and stoning of adulterers under sharia, while forcing women to go veiled.

Many women among the thousands of Gao residents who came out to celebrate the rebels' expulsion made a point of going unveiled.

Other residents smoked cigarettes and played music to flout the bans previously set by the Islamist rebels.

The French and Malian forces so far have met little resistance from the Islamists, who seized northern Mali in the wake of a military coup in the distant capital of Bamako, in southern Mali.

'Little by little, Mali is being liberated,' French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France 2 television.

At Gao, more than 300 km (190 miles) east of Timbuktu, jubilant residents danced to music in the streets on Sunday to celebrate the liberation of this other ancient Niger River town from the Sharia-observing rebels.

A third northern town, the Tuareg seat of Kidal, in Mali's rugged and remote northeast, remains in the hands of the Islamist fighters, a loose alliance that groups AQIM with Malian Islamist group Ansar Dine and AQIM splinter MUJWA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fierce: Chadian soldiers secure Gao airport on Saturday. When they got to Timbuktu, the Islamist rebels fled, torching homes

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Chad support fighter: But despite facing little of no resistance so far, they face a tough job of combing through the labyrinth of ancient mosques and monuments and mud-brick homes between alleys to flush out any hiding Islamist fighters

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272877/Malis-history-goes-flames-Pictures-priceless-texts-torched-Islamist-fighters-fleeing-French-forces-Timbuktu.html

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/matt-blake-and-sam-webb/mali-s-history-goes-up-in-flames--pictures-show-priceless-texts-torched-by-islamist-fighters-fleeing-french-forces-at-timbuktu/d/24442

 

Loading..

Loading..