DAKAR — The Islamists controlling northern Mali Tuesday destroyed two tombs at the ancient Djingareyber mud mosque in Timbuktu, an endangered world heritage site, witnesses said.
“Currently the Islamists are busy destroying two tombs of Timbuktu’s great Djingareyber mosque. They are shooting in the air to chase away the crowd, to scare them,” one witness said.
“The two mausolea are adjacent to the western wall of the great mosque and the Islamists have hoes, chisels, they are hitting the mausolea which are made out of packed earth,” said a source close to the mosque’s imam.
“They say they will destroy everything.”
Another witness reported the Islamists had cried “Allah-o-Akbar” (God is Greatest) as they hammered away at the mosque which is one of the most important in Timbuktu.
He added that the Islamists had blocked off two main roads leading to the mosque, which was one of the fabled city’s main tourist attractions before the region became a no-go area for westerners.
The same witness reported that the Islamists had asked a television crew from Qatar-based Al-Jazeera to film their actions.
The fighters from the Islamist group Ansar Dine began their destruction of the city’s cultural treasures July 1, shortly after UNESCO placed them on a list of endangered world heritage sites. — AFP