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Looting in Timbuktu as donors pledge millions for Mali war

Published on Jan 30, 2013 6:09 AM
Men recover burnt ancient manuscripts at the Ahmed Baba Centre for Documentation and Research in Timbuktu on Jan 29, 2013. French-led forces seized yesterday Mali's fabled desert city of Timbuktu in a lightning advance north as fleeing Islamists torched a building housing priceless ancient manuscripts. Mayor Ousmane confirmed the fire at the Ahmed Baba Centre for Documentation and Research which housed between 60,000 and 100,000 manuscripts, according to Mali's culture ministry. -- PHOTO : AFP 

TIMBUKTU, Mali (AFP) - Hundreds of Malians looted shops Tuesday in Timbuktu, newly freed from Islamists, as global donors pledged over US$455 million (S$561 million) for a French-led drive to expel the extremists from the north.

Life had started returning to normal after French and Malian troops on Monday entered the fabled desert city which had been subjected for months to brutal Islamic law, but soon a large angry crowd set to pillaging.

They plundered stores they said belonged to Arabs, Mauritanians and Algerians whom they accuse of supporting the Al Qaeda-linked Islamists during their 10-month rule over the ancient centre of Islamic learning.

The looters took everything from arms and military communications equipment to televisions, food and furniture, emptying shops in minutes.

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