Islamists attack Timbuktu world heritage siteJuly 1st, 2012 - 9:20 am ICT by IANS
Moscow, July 1 (IANS) The mausoleum of Sidi Mahmoud, a Unesco World Heritage site, in Timbuktu, Mali, has been damaged in an attack by Islamists, RIA Novosti reported.
It is one of 16 shrines in Timbuktu.
The attack was reportedly carried out by the Ansar Dine movement, which believes the shrines are idolatrous. They have vowed to destroy all 16 of the shrines in Timbuktu.
On Thursday, Unesco placed Timbuktu and the Tomb of Askia on its list of World Heritage in Danger.
Unesco chairwoman Allissandra Cummins, attending a World Heritage Committee meeting in St. Petersburg, deplored the destruction and called on the conflicting sides to “exercise their responsibility”.
Unesco is particularly concerned that ancient manuscripts and other cultural objects will be looted from Timbuktu, which was a major outpost of Islam in Africa during the city’s golden age in the 16th century.
Ansar Dine seized control of northern Mali along with Touareg separatists in March, but the two groups have since fallen into conflict.
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Tags: 16th century, ancient manuscripts, ansar, askia, chairwoman, committee meeting, cummins, islam in africa, mausoleum, northern mali, ria novosti, separatists, shrines, sidi mahmoud, timbuktu mali, unesco, unesco world heritage, unesco world heritage site, world heritage committee, world heritage site