BAMAKO — Members of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have desecrated a Muslim saint’s tomb in the fabled city of Timbuktu, an official said on Saturday.
“Members of AQIM, supported by (the armed Islamist group) Ansar Dine, have destroyed the tomb of Saint Sidi (Mahmoud Ben) Amar. They set fire to the tomb,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that they had pledged to destroy others too.
Timbuktu, a UNESCO World Heritage site and cradle of Islamic learning, has been under the control of AQIM and Ansar Dine since the groups took advantage of a March 22 coup to take control of northern Mali.
“They promised to destroy other tombs, Timbuktu is in shock. Now they want to take and control other tombs and manuscripts,” the official said.
A local journalist confirmed the tomb was destroyed.
“This is very serious,” he said.
Mali’s transitional government expressed outrage over the desecration, calling it “an unspeakable act”, in a statement read out on national television.
Beyond its historic mosques, the World Heritage site comprises 16 cemeteries and mausolea, according to the UNESCO website.
These tombs are “essential elements in a religious system as, according to popular belief; they constitute a rampart that shields the city from all misfortune”, the UN cultural organisation said.
Sometimes called the city of 333 saints, Timbuktu is also home to nearly 100,000 ancient manuscripts, some dating to the 12th century, preserved in family homes and private libraries under the care of religious scholars.
At its height in the 1500s, the city, a Niger River port at the edge of the Sahara a thousand kilometres (600 miles) north of Bamako, was the key intersection for salt traders traveling from the north and gold traders from the south.
It was also a renowned centre of Islamic scholarship, with manuscripts written in Arabic and Fulani by scholars of the ancient Mali empire, covering a range of subjects including Islam, history, astronomy, music, botany, genealogy and anatomy.
White House leaked ‘insane letter’ to Fox host — that makes Trump look ridiculously ‘dumb’
President Donald Trump was ridiculed on Wednesday after a letter was leaked that President Donald Trump sent to Turkish President Recep Erdo?an.
The letter was sent a week ago, on October 9th.
A copy of the letter, where Trump warned Erdo?an not to be a fool, was obtained by Fox Business personality Trish Regan.
Commentary on the letter was swift -- and brutal.
Here's some of what people were saying:
Can’t tell if parody of dumb guy trying to cover his tracks or real dumb guy who is covering tracks
‘You can buy the USA’ thanks to Trump: Counterintelligence expert
Counterintelligence expert Malcolm Nance said during a political discussion Wednesday that the United States of America has clearly become a "pay-to-play" nation under President Donald Trump.
"After 2016, it became clear that the only thing we were really going to look into was Donald Trump's relationships with Moscow.," Nance said in a discussion with SiriusXM Progress host Dean Obeidallah.
"But I think it became pretty clear to the oligarchs that they weren't going after the oligarchs, they were going after Donald Trump and a very specific link to foreign intelligence," continued Nance. "And that meant their money could talk again. You have to understand, these people were doing it to lift these crippling sanctions that Trump fought tooth and nail against."
Growing chorus of Senate Republicans rebuke Trump over his Syria pullout
In the wake of President Trump's decision to pull US troops out of northeast Syria, a growing chorus of Senate Republicans are dismissing Trump's threat of economic sanctions against Turkey if it continues its incursion into the region, the Washington Examiner reports.
According to Sen. John Thune (R-SD), attempts to apply meaningful sanctions on Turkey after Trump green lit its invasion are just politicians "grasping to come up with something," adding that the Trump's decision "was a mistake" from the beginning.