French President Francois Hollande is surrounded by well-wishers on his short visit to Timbuktu, Mali, on Saturday.
February 2, 2013 Francois Hollande visits the northern city of Timbuktu six days after French and Malian troops liberate it; he says France is prepared to hand over command of the battle against Islamists in Mali to an African-led military force.
A French soldier in central Mali on Sunday.
Nic Bothma /EPA /LANDOV
January 28, 2013 It's feared that thousands of ancient manuscripts may have been destroyed in the fire. The oldest is said to date to 1204. Meanwhile, French and Malian forces are securing the ancient city and searching for the Islamist extremists.
In this image from a video, an Islamist militant celebrates after the destruction of a Sufi shrine earlier this month in Timbuktu.
July 13, 2012 Islamist extremists have been knocking down centuries-old tombs and other sites sacred to Sufis. Little can be done to stop them. There's no effective government in Mali. The democratically elected president was toppled in a coup earlier this year.
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This image from a video shows Islamist militants destroying an ancient shrine in Timbuktu on Sunday.
July 3, 2012 Muslim extremists are pillaging Sufi tombs and mosques. They're ignoring international protests. To them, the sites are offensive. To most others, they're historical sites of huge importance.
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