UN laments destruction of Timbuktu shrines

2012-06-30 15:05
AFP

AFP

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Saint Petersburg - The UN cultural agency Unesco on Saturday deplored the "tragic" destruction by armed Mali fundamentalists of ancient shrines in the city of Timbuktu and called for the rampage to stop.

"This is tragic news for us all," Unesco executive committee chair Alissandra Cummins said in a statement issued to AFP.

"I appeal to all those engaged in the conflict in Timbuktu to exercise their responsibility: For the sake of future generations, spare the legacy of their past!"

Islamist militants from the Ansar Dine group attacked shrines to Muslim saints and threatened to destroy every religious site in the fabled African city only two days after Unesco listed it as an an endangered world heritage site.

Unesco denounced the "wanton damage" that destroyed the ancient tomb of at least one revered Muslim figure on Saturday and urged the world community to take notice.

"I call on all the members of the (Unesco) committee, who represent the international community, to join me in expressing sadness and concern for the survival of this important World Heritage property," Cummins said in the statement issued in Russia, where the body was meeting.

A spokesperson for the Islamist group, Sanda Ould Boumama, said through an interpreter from the city: "Ansar Dine will today destroy every mausoleum in the city. All of them, without exception."

He added: "God is unique. All of this is haram [or forbidden in Islam]. We are all Muslims. Unesco is what?"

Read more on:    un  |  mali  |  west africa
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