Reports have surfaced that more than 80% of Timbuktu’s priceless manuscripts were smuggled out of the ancient city before Islamists began an attack on its cultural heritage.
Information from the German Foreign Ministry indicates that much more of Timbuktu’s priceless ancient manuscripts were saved from Islamist attack than was previously thought. The ministry, which aided in the operation says more than 200,000 of the documents were smuggled to safety.
Some of the manuscripts which date back to the 13th century were driven out of Timbuktu in private vehicles and taken to the Malian capital, Bamoko. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said priority was to now catalogue the manuscripts and preserve them for posterity. He said, “We are ready to support the reconstruction of the library in Timbuktu.”
Timbuktu was captured by Tuareg fighters in April whose separatist rebellion was later overthrown by Islamic radical who imposed Islamic laws. The militants torched a world famous library in January. Dozens of ancient shrines were also destroyed.
Timbuktu is home to prestigious universities and other archaeological wonders and served as an intellectual and spiritual capital for the propagation of Island throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries.