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Extremists raze two more tombs in Timbuktu

Extremists raze two more tombs in Timbuktu
Islamic extremists destroyed another two mausoleums in the northern Malian city of Timbuktu, attacking a graveyard attached to the city's most picturesque mosque, according to a historian specialising in the area's heritage.

Salem Ould Elhadj, a researcher at the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu, said the members of the radical sect set out with picks and shovels to raze the tombs of two of Timbuktu's scholars, Baba Babadje and Mahamane Foulane, both of whom are considered saints.

Their mausoleums are in a cemetery attached to the nearly 700-year-old Djingareyber mosque, built in 1325. It's made of mud and resembles a ziggurat and is one of the most recognisable symbols of the fabled city, often reproduced on postcards.

Both the mosque and the tombs are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Ansar Dine, the sect which seized control of northern Mali last month, says they do not recognise any international law, only the law of the Quran.

Spokesman Oumar Ould Hamaha said that they have ‘divine orders’ to destroy any grave that is more than 20 centimeters [7.87 inches] tall because anything taller encourages people to orient their prayer toward the deceased rather than toward God.
Agencies

Agencies

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