Islamic extremists from the Ansar Dine group which has taken over northern Mali and imposed sharia law, are destroying ancient monuments in Timbuktu.
Afghanistan, the Maldives and now Mali, Islamic extremists wreak havoc destroying irreplaceable and priceless historic treasures. Members of Ansar Dine are on a rampage of destruction in the ancient trading town which has been declared a UNESCO heritage site.
The BBC reported Islamists began destroying Muslim shrines on Saturday with shovels and pickaxes. Ansar Dine spokesman Sanda Ould Boumama said all the shrines would be destroyed, "all of them, without exception. God is unique. All of this is haram. We are all Muslims. Unesco is what?"
Salafists who follow the most extreme and backward tenet of Sunni Islam believe all images are idolatrous, including the shrines of Muslim saints. The behaviour of Ansar Dine is motivated by the same beliefs that saw Islamic extremists in Libya destroying Muslim tombs after the fall of Gaddafi.
The mausoleum of Sidi Mahmoud in Timbuktu has been destroyed and latest reports say the mausoleum of Cheikh el-Kebir is in the process of being destroyed. Dozens of Islamists have swarmed the cemetery of Djingareyber which houses an ancient mosque from 1327.
Mali's Minster of Culture has urged the UN to intervene to preserve Mali's cultural heritage.