Minister of State Cornelia Pieper issued the following statement in Berlin today (7 May) on the destruction of the mausoleum of the saint Sidi Mahmud Ben Amar in Timbuktu, Mali, on 4 May:
“The Federal Government condemns the destruction of invaluable cultural assets in Timbuktu. Such behaviour is utterly unjustifiable. Irreplaceable monuments to Timbuktu’s ”golden age“ are in peril.
In Timbuktu, the integrity of one of Africa’s – and indeed the world’s – most outstanding cultural heritage sites is at stake. I call on those responsible to put an end to these barbaric acts of destruction and to respect Africa’s cultural heritage.
The efforts of the West African regional organization ECOWAS to broker a political solution for Mali and restore the country’s national unity are expressly supported by Germany.”
Timbuktu lies on the edge of the Sahara. It is also known as “city of the 333 saints” or “pearl of the desert”. It has been listed as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO since 1988.