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Timbuktu a 'Ghost Town' After Radical Islamists Leave Residents with No Water or Electricity

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Jan 25, 2013 10:16 AM EST

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A policeman patrols a market in central Timbuktu (Photo : Reuters)

Timbuktu looks like a ghost town after radical Islamists left residents in the area without electricity or heat for three days.

Residents of Timbuktu in Mali haven't had power or drinking water in three days after a French-led military movement to get the Islamist groups out of the city took place. The Islamist groups took control of northern Mali in April 2012, but they have moved to the region of Kidal in the north-east.

With no water or power in the area, it isn't just the Islamists who chose to leave. Residents started leaving as well.

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"There is no water. The people have left and the Islamists too. It's a ghost town,'' municipal official Moctar Ould Kery said, according to AFP.

While the Islamists were in town, they continued to have electiricity and water by using generators, but they took it with them after their fuel supplies were destroyed by the French military.

During a French air raid, several planes bombed the base of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. They destroyed a mansion that was being used as headquarters for Islamist radicals. The mansion once belonged to Libya's dictator Muammar Gaddafi who was assassinated in October 2011.

Timbuktu is located on the edge of the Sahara desert. It was a key Islamic learning center, but it has since become a battlefield. Militants  now occupy the land and haven been razing the world heritage-listed religious sites, which is a tragedy to the United Nations group UNESCO.

 

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