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AU slams destruction of tombs

Johannesburg - The African Union condemned on Monday the ongoing destruction of mausoleums by radical Islamists in the ancient city of Timbuktu.

In a statement, AU Chairman Jean Ping said he was concerned by the smashing of numerous tombs by the Ansar Dine militia at the UNESCO World Heritage site in Mali.

The group is opposed to the reverence of saints.

The Islamists seized the region in March along with ethnic Tuareg rebels. But the former allies were driven out, leaving Ansar Dine in charge.

UNESCO says the destruction of the tombs is “extremely distressing” as the damage is irreversible. - Sapa-dpa

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