The mausoleums are the tombs of revered Muslim sages, known as saints in Timbuktu, a city listed as a Unesco World Heritage site, then put on its List of World Heritage in Danger in 2012. Picture: Sebastein Rieussec /AFP
The mausoleums are the tombs of revered Muslim sages, known as saints in Timbuktu, a city listed as a Unesco World Heritage site, then put on its List of World Heritage in Danger in 2012. Picture: Sebastein Rieussec /AFP

First commercial flight in 9 years lands in Timbuktu

By Chad Williams Time of article published Feb 3, 2021

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CAPE TOWN – The first commercial flight landed in Mali’s Timbuktu on Monday for the first time since 2012.

Launching a new link for local airline Sky Mali, the flight landed in the city of Timbuktu for the first time since jihadists captured the Malian city in 2012, various media reports said.

The airline has already set up links to Kayes on the Senegalese border and Gao in Mali's north since its founding last July, reports local media.

According to Africa News, the flight which carried a delegation including two ministers, landed after making the 700 kilometre journey from the capital Bamako via the central city Mopti in two hours.

Sky Mali plans two Bamako-Timbuktu flights per week with stopovers in Mopti.

Jihadist attacks and inter-ethnic fighting have beset northern Mali for years, spreading southward into the country’s centre as well as across its borders, writes Vanguard News.

Fundamentalist groups linked to Al-Qaeda overran Timbuktu in 2012.

Meanwhile, against the backdrop of a rapidly deteriorating security situation in Mali and the wider Sahel region, the United Nations recently took stock of recent political and security developments in the West African country, and discussed progress on implementing the mandate of the UN Stabilisation Mission

According to the United Nations, in January, four peacekeepers were killed, and five others wounded, in going violence.

More than 200 000 people were newly displaced in 2019 because of increasing conflict in the central and northern regions, writes World Vision.

African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay

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