The Tour GuideFriday, June 14, 2013
On 2 April 2012, Islamist militants, including some self-styled jihadists, overran the ancient desert city of Timbuktu, in northern Mali. They installed a brutal and alien form of Sharia law, involving beatings, amputations and incarceration for dress-code violations. They stayed until a French intervention force put them to flight nine months later.Under the occupation, the already frayed state institutions, including justice, health, and education, disintegrated entirely as civil servants fled and public buildings were looted and ransacked. The same fate befell the city's banks, devastating the local economy, and its cultural heritage; mausoleums, statues and countless ancient manuscripts deemed sacrilegious by the new authorities were destroyed or damaged. Seyou Baba Kounta is a professional tour guide. Opening this multimedia In-Depth, he takes us on a tour of Timbuktu and explains what happens when the jihadists came to town. This In-Depth also features the city's mayor discussing the destruction of local government services, the regional army commander outlining security issues, a butcher on the economic collapse of Timbuktu, two imams discussing rival forms of Islam, and a UN official who describes key humanitarian challenges.
Watch the Trouble in Timbuktu multimedia special: http://www.irinnews.org/webspecial/mali/index.html#