No military intervention in ancient Timbuktu

2012-07-07 16:39

Two thousand protesters on Independence Square in Mali’s capital, Bamako, could not convince the United Nations (UN) of the need for military intervention in Mali.

On Thursday, protesters called on the international community to intervene in Timbuktu and Gao, where fighters are enforcing strict sharia laws, breaking up ancient shrines with picks and shovels and keeping citizens trapped with landmines.

Young people who wanted to protest in Timbuktu were advised not to do so by older citizens in order to avoid a bloodbath in the historical “City of 333 Saints”.

The UN Security Council approved a resolution on Thursday, but military intervention – even a proposed African force – was not discussed.

The resolution involves sanctions against Ansar Dine (the Defenders of Islam) and condemns their radical action. The destruction of memorials and mausoleums could perhaps be charged as war crimes, the resolution says, which was approved by the 15 member states.

Mali’s neighbouring states requested the UN to consider military intervention, and France agreed to draft the text. Mali was a French colony until 1960.

The Economic Community of West African States was ready last week to send 3 300 troops into the afflicted northern region of Mali, but the step needs approval by a UN resolution.

Twitter was flooded over the past few days with reports about students starting to protect the Tomb of Askia in Gao – a city 320km east of Timbuktu – following fears that the destruction of the monuments in Timbuktu would spread there.

Askia the Great developed the Mali Empire into the largest West African country in the 1500s and introduced complex systems of taxation and land management.

Ansar Dine, which is linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has planted landmines around Gao to prevent the more moderate Tuareg, who were expelled from the Ansar Dine last week, from launching a counterattack.

Soon after the coup, Ansar Dine and Aqim moved the Tuareg rebels of the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad out of all positions of power.

The violent destruction of memorials in Timbuktu came days before Unesco, the UN agency for cultural preservation, was going to establish an emergency fund for the protection of the Timbuktu memorials.

A spokesperson for Ansar Dine said they don’t recognise the UN or the International Court of Justice.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.