Islamist militants in Mali’s historic city Timbuktu destroyed and damaged ancient sites for a third straight day, defying international threats of prosecution.
Witnesses say the al-Qaida-linked group Ansar Dine targeted the 15th-century Sidi Yahya mosque on Monday, tearing off the entrance door. The door is considered sacred and was to remain closed until the end of the world.
Timbuktu is home to 16 ancient mausoleums said to contain the remains of Muslim saints. The militants say Muslims should revere Allah, not saints, and are attacking the mausoleums with pickaxes and shovels.
Timbuktu is a United Nations World Heritage site. The head of the Africa unit of the U.N.’s World Heritage Center, Lazare Eloundou Assomo, described the situation to VOA as serious and sad and said it is a tragedy for the world. Read more.