Mali: Islamic Extremist Who Destroyed Religious Monuments In World Heritage Site Arrested

From The Guardian:
An alleged Islamic extremist charged with involvement in the destruction of religious buildings in the historic city of Timbuktu in Mali in 2012 has been arrested and was sent to the International Criminal Court early on Saturday.

Ahmad Al Mahdi Al Faqi, known as Abu Tourab, is the first suspect in the court’s custody charged with the war crime of destroying religious or historical monuments.

Al Faqi was surrendered to the court by Niger based on an arrest warrant issued a week ago and transferred to the Hague early on Saturday. No date was immediately set for his arraignment.

The court said in a statement he was a member of Ansar Dine, an Islamic extremist group with links to al-Qaida that ruled across northern Mali in 2012.

He is charged in the destruction of 10 historic buildings including mausoleums and a mosque in Timbuktu.

The entire city of Timbuktu is listed as a world heritage Site by Unesco. At the peak of its influence in the 15th and 16th centuries, Timbuktu counted 180 schools and universities which received thousands of students from all over the Muslim world.

Islamic radicals who overran Timbuktu in 2012 destroyed 14 of the city’s 16 mausoleums, one-room structures that house the tombs of the city’s great thinkers. The extremists condemned the buildings as totems of idolatry...

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