Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

« The dress » is back but why don’t we see black and blue ?

Read more

REPORTERS

Chad's war against Boko Haram

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Rape in India, Russia after Nemtsov, France scolded for Smacking

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Netanyahu Warns Congress against Iran; Clinton's Got Mail

Read more

#THE 51%

Gender equality in the classroom: A delicate balancing act

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Inside a school for imams

Read more

#TECH 24

MWC 2015: New smartphones unveiled

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Paris, world tattoo capital

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Fair play won't stop Putin - it's time for sterner stuff'

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2013-02-22

Timbuktu: Revenge in the shadows in northern Mali

The fabled city of Timbuktu, in north-western Mali, was occupied by armed Islamist groups for almost a year. At the end of January, French and Malian soldiers retook control of the city. Since then, its people have been enjoying the taste of freedom again. But the light-skinned Arab and Tuareg communities are accused of complicity with the extremists and have already suffered revenge attacks. Our reporters Alexandra Renard, Eve Irvine and Chady Chlela went to Timbuktu.

A crowd gathers outside the home of Ali Kabbadi, a 70-year-old herdsman and shopkeeper. Women are weeping. A young son doesn’t know who to turn to. His father was arrested and no one knows where he has been taken.

Neighbours say that men wearing green military uniforms driving a pick-up arrived early in the morning and forced Ali onto their truck.

“A military truck pulled up and they went straight into Ali’s house. They didn’t ask any questions, nor did they give him a chance to speak. He was so afraid he struggled to walk so they just pushed him violently onto the truck. Ali had nothing to do with the terrorists; if they came by he would be the one to tell them that he wanted to be left in peace. Seriously… if we could just come together as a people and stage a peaceful process to put an end to this confusion”, says a young woman who lives nearby.

Another man, a neighbour of Ali who came to defend the herdsman, was also bundled into the truck.

Around the corner it’s a similar scene. Two brothers, Danna and Mohammed Ould Dahmamma were both forced onto the same pick-up and taken away.

Mohammed’s 13-year-old son, Boucar, says they almost took him too. “They came and took my Dad away. Just like that, without any explanation. They wanted to take me too but in the end they told me to stay,” he says.

The Malian army denies that any of their men were involved in the arrests and say they do not have any of the men in question in detention.

In Timbuktu today, the departure of the radical Islamists has left several ethnic groups living in fear. Many assume they collaborated with the extremists who reigned over the town for almost 10 months.

In their bid to take control of towns in northern Mali, the radical Islamist groups Aqmi, Ansar Dine and Mujao allied themselves with another rebel movement, one calling for the autonomy of the north of the country, a region they call the Azawad. This rebel group was made up of a number of light-skinned Tuaregs and Arabs.

At the start of February, locals said that only three out of Timbuktu’s 500 Arab families were still living in the town. The majority having fled to refugee camps in neighbouring countries. Ali, Danna and Mohammed had refused to run, insisting that they had nothing to hide and saw no reason to leave their homes.

A week later, they were taken from their homes. The men are still missing.

By Eve IRVINE

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2015-03-06 Chad

Chad's war against Boko Haram

For several years, Boko Haram has been sowing terror in Nigeria. And the Islamic sect has extended its reach to Cameroon, Niger, and now to Chad.

Read more

2015-02-25 Pakistan

Pakistani Taliban set their sights on police

The Pakistani Taliban are targeting police in Karachi. Over 140 officers were killed last year, most of them victims of targeted assassinations.

Read more

2015-02-20 West Bank

Building in the West Bank

In the West Bank, Jewish settlements continue to expand. Some are authorised by the Israeli government, some not, but all are considered illegal by the international community...

Read more

2015-02-12 Tunisia

Tunisians flock to join the jihad

As Tunisia moves slowly forward on the path to democracy, the country is proportionally one of the biggest exporters of jihadist fighters. Over the past three years thousands of...

Read more

2015-02-05 India

India: the myth of 'Love Jihad'

In India, where religious tensions and violence are on the rise, Hindu extremists are accusing Muslims of practising “Love Jihad”. India’s Muslims deny these accusations and...

Read more