NPR : News

Filed Under:

Destruction Of Timbuktu's Treasures Continues; Humanitarian Crisis Looms

Play associated audio

Morning Edition today catches up on the news from Mali, where as we reported last week Islamist extremists are destroying centuries-old historical sites in Timbuktu because they find them offensive.

Human Rights Watch senior researcher Corinne Dufka, who is in Mali, tells show host Renee Montagne that the destruction of tombs and other sites sacred to Sufis continues. And because there is no legitimate government in the country now, there's seemingly little that can be done, Dufka says. About all other African nations are trying to do is "contain and stop foreign Islamists from coming into Mali," she says.

Mali's democratically elected president was toppled in a coup earlier this year. Rebel groups have since moved to grab parts of the nation.

Meanwhile, a "serious humanitarian crisis" is growing, Dufka warns. About 300,000 people have fled to neighboring countries to avoid the fighting between various forces. There's a "looming famine," Dufka says.

Extremists from a group known as Ansar Dine, as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton said last week on Talk of the Nation, say the tombs in Timbuktu, "these mausoleums of Muslim saints, are idolatrous."

That, of course, is the same excuse the Taliban gave about destroying the towering Buddhas in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in early 2001.

Update at 9:40 a.m. ET. France Talks About Military Intervention.

Ofeibea tells our Newscast Desk that:

"The French foreign minister is raising the idea of foreign military intervention in Mali to drive Islamists out of key territory, the size of France, that they have seized in the desert north."

But, she adds, "the minister's spokesman, Bernard Valero, says 'it will be the African countries who would have to be on the front line. We do not have any intention to directly intervene.' "

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Far From 'Infinitesimal': A Mathematical Paradox's Role In History

It seems like a simple question: How many parts can you divide a line into? The troublesome answer was square at the root of two of Europe's greatest social crises.
NPR

Soup to Nuts, Restaurants Smoke It All

While you won't find cigarettes in restaurants anymore, some smoking isn't banned. It's not just meat, either; it's hot to smoke just about anything edible.
WAMU 88.5

Virginia Remains At Odds With Feds On Medicaid Expansion

Lawmakers in Virginia continue to resist the $9.6 billion Medicaid expansion on offer from the federal government as part of the Affordable Care Act.

NPR

Watch For The Blind Lets You Feel Time Passing

A new watch allows the blind to feel time on their wrists. Designer Hyungsoo Kim tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn his watch allows users to tell time accurately without revealing their disabilities.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.