Home > News > World
Saturday March 15, 2014 MYT 5:36:42 AM
Saturday March 15, 2014 MYT 5:37:54 AM
DAKAR (Reuters) - Malian masons on Friday began rebuilding mausoleums in the historic city of Timbuktu destroyed by Islamists during their occupation of the country's north, the United Nations said.
The earthen tombs of saints, located in the UNESCO listed desert city, were destroyed in July 2012 by militants who considered the local Sufi version of Islam to be idolatrous.
Video footage from the period shows armed militants hacking at the sites with pickaxes. Thousands of ancient manuscripts were also burned.
"The rehabilitation of Timbuktu's cultural heritage is critical for the Malian population, for the inhabitants of the city and for the entire world," said UNESCO head Irina Bokova.
Located on an old Saharan trading route that saw salt from the Arab north exchanged for gold and slaves from black Africa to the south, Timbuktu blossomed in the 16th century as an Islamic seat of learning, home to priests, scribes and jurists.
Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is now seeking to rebuild the country after a putsch in March 2012 plunged the country into chaos, allowing Islamists to seize the north and prompting former coloniser France to intervene.
Small pockets of Islamists still operate in the desert, preventing a recovery in the West African country's once thriving tourism sector.
(Writing by Emma Farge; editing by Ralph Boulton)
French president in Mali to back French troops, visits Timbuktu
Mali's soccer victory caps Timbuktu's post-Islamist rebirth
Stretched in Timbuktu, French wait for African reinforcements
Four killed in suicide bomb attack in Timbuktu - Mali army
French president visits Mali to support French troops
Syrian government air strikes kill 63 in Raqqa - monitoring group
Missouri governor orders more troops to Ferguson after riots
Mexico's embattled government poised to unveil law and order measures
Sri Lanka's Catholic Church urges government not to use pope's visit to help election campaign
Italy's Renzi clears hurdle in parliament on labour law
Yemeni forces free eight al Qaeda hostages; U.S. says no Americans
The Carlsberg Classic showdown tomorrow is the culmination of 40 qualifying legs played around the country
Welcome to Bhutan via Google Street View
Singapore furniture brand opens first showroom in Malaysia
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)