Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 09/26 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 09/26 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 09/26 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 09/26 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 09/26 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 09/26 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 09/26 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 09/26 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 09/26 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 09/26 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 09/25 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 09/26 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 09/25 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 09/26 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 09/26 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 09/26 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 09/25 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 09/26 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 09/25 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 09/26 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 09/25 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
Africa

French and Malian soldiers greeted with joy by people of Timbuktu

media French troops greeted by the population as they arrive in Timbuktu. 28 January Reuters/Arnaud Roine/Ecpad/Handout

RFI’s correspondent described on Tuesday how the people of Timbuktu greeted French-led troops with delight as they entered the city. The Islamists who had controlled the town disappeared offering little resistance.

 

“The atmosphere is good, its very good, all this liberty. Now we no longer risk prison, no one hits us, life is good.” Niafata told RFI, amid Malian and French flags and banners praising the soldiers. “Now we are at ease,” adds her friend.

Doundai Touré savoured the moment of joy “People couldn’t wait to see the French army and the Malian army enter the town. But luckily, it was very quick, and now we are happy. Today is about Liberty, the dearest thing in the world.”

Dossier: War in Mali

Women abandoned the veils they were forced to wear by the islamists. “Yes, we are celebrating because we are free! We can do what we want,” exclaimed a happy Niama Maye.

She described how the last year had been difficult “because they hit us, people made us do what we didn’t want to do. We thank François Hollande.”

“The islamists ran away, the soldiers came, and the toubabs [white people] came too” interrupted five year old Ibrahim, adding “I am happy. Today we’re going to party and dance and shout “Vive la France!” May god give France everything she wants!”

As they left, the islamists cut off telephone lines and attacked certain buildings such as premises of ORTM, the national television channel.

They also burned down the Ahmed Baba centre, which housed ancient manuscripts and thousands of precious documents.

Yehia Tandina, a journalist who is well-known in Timbuktu, was hiding in a corner of the building when it was set alight by the jihadists. “It was sheer terror”, she explains, “They had a power, an uncontested power, so they did what they wanted. There were at least 180,000 manuscripts. Everything is destroyed.”

Mahmoud’s eyes fill with tears as he considers the destruction and he says many many people cried as they saw the flames.

Teacher El Hadj says he came to the centre often, until the Islamists closed off access. “These are very sacred manuscripts which have just been burned. The whole city of Timbuktu rests on those papers…..As someone from the generation of the future, it’s as though they burned our spirit. In every way.”

Yehi Tandina and others in the city insist that whatever was not destroyed was stolen by the jihadists, noting that as well as their historical importance, the documents had a market value.

 

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.