Timbuktu

5:54am

Mon January 28, 2013
The Two-Way

French And Malian Forces Take Airport In Timbuktu; Islamists Burn Library

A French soldier in central Mali on Sunday.
Nic Bothma EPA /LANDOV

While French and Malian forces have taken control of Timbuktu's airport in what NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports may be a turning point in their fight against Islamist extremists, there's also word that before the Islamists fled the ancient city they set fire to a library that holds "thousands of priceless ancient manuscripts."

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1:31am

Thu December 6, 2012
Africa

Why No One's Going To Timbuktu These Days

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 8:41 am

A woman walks by the Grand Mosque of Djenne on market day in Djenne, Mali, on Sept. 2. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed town is among the Malian tourist sites suffering from a huge drop in visitors after a coup took place in March and Islamist rebels seized control of the country's north.
Joe Penney Reuters/Landov

Tourism, the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people in the West African country of Mali, has ground to a halt. Since the coup in March and the subsequent occupation of the north by militants linked to al-Qaida, Mali has virtually become a no-go zone for visitors. The impact on the economy and people's lives is profound.

In the historic city of Segou, about 150 miles north of the capital, Bamako, the effects are obvious.

On a recent day, the engine of the brightly painted pinasse, a wooden boat handcrafted with a swooping wicker canopy, slowly starts up.

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3:53am

Sat August 4, 2012
Africa

Mali's Cultural Heritage, Old And New, Faces Threats

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Mali's popular Festival of the Desert, held each year near Timbuktu, attracts both local and international music stars. The festival took place in January, but the Islamists who have taken control of the area have since banned all entertainment.
Serge Daniel AFP/Getty Images

Mali is a country rich in culture, both old and new.

The banging of hammers on silver echos through the main crafts market in Bamako, Mali's capital. It's usually teeming in a place where you can buy anything, from silver earrings to batik fabric, all of it handmade.

And despite its remote location, Mali has enhanced its cultural reputation in recent years with an annual international music and arts festival in the Sahara Desert near Timbuktu, drawing both African and Western artists.

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6:22am

Fri July 13, 2012
The Two-Way

Destruction Of Timbuktu's Treasures Continues; Humanitarian Crisis Looms

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 7:40 am

In this image from a video, an Islamist militant celebrates after the destruction of a Sufi shrine earlier this month in Timbuktu.
AFP/Getty Images
  • Renee Montagne speaks with Corinne Dufka

Morning Edition today catches up on the news from Mali, where as we reported last week Islamist extremists are destroying centuries-old historical sites in Timbuktu because they find them offensive.

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3:09am

Fri July 13, 2012
Africa

Al-Qaida-Linked Group Infiltrates Timbuktu

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 9:04 am

The ancient desert town of Timbuktu is under assault in the west African nation of Mali. Islamist forces have taken over much of northern Mali where Timbuktu is located. One group, allied with al-Qaida, has begun systematically destroying Shrines that celebrate ancient Muslim saints. Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Corinne Dufka talks to Renee Montagne about the destruction.

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