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U.S. blasts continued destruction of heritage sites in Mali

07-12-2012 07:25 BJT

WASHINGTON, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Wednesday blasted the continued destruction of Muslim shrines and other historic sites in Timbuktu in northern Mali.

"The United States strongly condemns the destruction of Muslim shrines and other religious and historic sites in Timbuktu by Islamic militants, including Ansar Dine," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

"We are outraged by the continued destruction of these World Heritage Sites and the ongoing intimidation of local populations," she added.

Islamist militants destroyed two tombs on Tuesday at the ancient Djingareyber mosque in Timbuktu, acts followed by attacks on other religious and historic landmarks in the world heritage site which the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) denounced as "wanton destruction."

Press reports said at least eight of 16 listed mausoleums and some tombs have been destroyed in Timbuktu, which was captured by the Tuareg rebels and the al-Qaida-linked Ansar Dine in early April following a March military coup that ousted Mali's civilian government.

"We join UNESCO in urging an immediate end to these destructive and irreversible acts and call for all parties to protect this invaluable cultural heritage for future generations," Nuland said, calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

She voiced support for the on-going efforts of the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union to bring about a return to civilian rule in Mali and mediate a solution to the rebellion in the north.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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