GAO, Mali (Reuters) - French and also Malian troops upon Monday sealed out of Timbuktu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, right after fleeing Islamist digital rebel martial artists torched a few houses within the ancient Saharan trading town, including some sort of a precious reminder manuscript library.
Without a shot staying let go to halt them, 1,000 French troops like paratroopers along with 2 hundred Malian troops seized the particular air-port and surrounded the actual centuries-old Niger River city, trying to block that escape of al Qaeda-allied fighters.
The retaking connected with Timbuktu taken your swift capture by way of French and Malian aids in the weekend regarding Gao, yet another major northern Malian town which had been occupied by simply that alliance associated with Islamist militant communities since continue year.
A two-week intervention through France with its an old Sahel colony, along at the ask for of Mali's authorities but in addition together with wide overseas backing, offers driven the actual Islamist rebel mma fighters northwards away from cities into your leave and mountains.
A French government spokesman stated this attack forces at Timbuktu had been being mindful in order to avoid combat within the area therefore since to not ever damage national most beloved destinations in addition to mosques along with religious shrines inside that which is regarded your chair associated with Islamic learning.
But Timbuktu's mayor, Ousmane Halle, reported that fleeing Islamist fighters experienced torched a South African-funded archives within brussels containing hundreds involving costly manuscripts.
"The rebels placed fireplace on the newly-constructed Ahmed Baba Institute developed because of the South Africans . the following occured a number of days ago," Halle Ousmane instructed Reuters by simply telephone from Bamako. He said he or she had received the data from his / her main regarding marketing communications that acquired always went southern from the location on a daily basis ago.
Ousmane ended up being not really in a position to without delay declare what amount your concrete creating have already been damaged. He additional your rebels likewise torched his office along with the home on the person involving parliament.
The Ahmed Baba Institute, among several libraries and also collections inside brussels containing delicate historical papers internet dating back to the 13th century, is actually termed after your Timbuktu-born contemporary with William Shakespeare and residences above 20,000 scholarly manuscripts. Some were recorded in metro vaults.
The French and Malians have faced zero weight so much at Timbuktu, although they confront a troublesome job of combing in the labyrinth involving ancient mosques along with ancient monuments and mud-brick residences involving alleys to help even released every disappearing Islamist fighters.
"We end up being really careful. But normally terms, the necessary aspects are usually in location for taking control," French army spokesman Lieutenant Thierry Burkhard explained inside Paris.
Timbuktu representative connected with parliament El Hadj Baba Ha dara advised Reuters in Bamako the actual Islamist rebels possessed abandoned the actual city. "They just about all fled. Before their passing away they will ruined many buildings, including personal homes," he / she said.
The United States along with European Union are assistance your French-led Mali surgery being a boxing techinque from the menace regarding significant Islamist jihadists while using West African state's inhospitable Sahara wasteland as being a release pad with regard to foreign attacks.
They are helping using intelligence, airlift of troops, refuelling with planes and also logistics, nonetheless tend not to want to send overcome troops to Mali.
FRANCE: MALI "BEING LIBERATED"
"Little simply by little, Mali is actually currently being liberated," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius informed France 2 television.
At Gao, in excess of 300 km (190 miles) distance of Timbuktu, jubilant citizens danced that will tunes inside streets on Sunday to help observe the particular liberation of the other ancient Niger River community on the sharia-observing rebels.
A third northern town, the actual Tuareg harley seat of Kidal, around Mali's solid along with online computer repair northeast, stays in the hands and wrists of the Islamist fighters, a unfastened alliance in which sets AQIM with Malian Islamist number Ansar Dine as well as AQIM splinter MUJWA.
With its national treasures, Timbuktu had previously already been a new destination intended for adventurous type of tourists plus foreign scholars.
The planet has been stunned simply by its capture about April a single by means of Tuareg desert mma fighters whose separatist rebellion was later hijacked by Islamist radicals who seem to charged acute sharia law.
Provoking international outrage, the Islamist militants who comply with a far more conservative Salafist branch of Islam messed up dozens of early shrines inside Timbuktu almost holy to moderate Sufi Moslems, condemning these seeing that idolatrous as well as un-Islamic.
They also put on amputations intended for thieves in addition to stoning connected with adulterers below sharia, though pumping women to search veiled.
On Sunday, a lot of females one of several a large number of Gao citizens who ended up to be able to celebrate the rebels' expulsion manufactured some sort of point of proceeding unveiled. Other residents tried smokes and played out song in order to flout your bans recently established with the Islamist rebels.
"THREAT OF TERRORISM"
As the French in addition to Malian soldiers drive in to upper Mali, African troops from a U.N.-backed continental treatment push likely to number 7,700 are being flown in to the country, even with critical delays as a result of logistical problems.
Outgoing African Union Chairman President Thomas Boni Yayi with Benin at your weekend break scolded AU says for his or her slower response to aid Mali even though past colonial energy France required that lead inside government operation.
Yayi squeeze cost from the African involvement force, today revised upwards, at $1 billion and also said up to 10 African nations may well be required to give troops.
Burkina Faso, Benin, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Niger and also Chad are delivering soldiers. Burundi along with other nations include pledged to contribute.
The AU is expected to look for billions of money in logistical help as well as funding for any African Mali induce with a discussion involving donors for being held in Addis Ababa about Tuesday.
Yayi in addition urged additional NATO people and Asian nations to follow France's lead as well as mail soldiers in order to Mali. "We have got to cost-free the actual Sahel belt on the risk of terrorism," he / she said.