Timbuktu has been left a ghost town after radical Islamists have abandoned it. The historic town in northern Mali has been left without drinking water and electricity for three days, according to residents and officials.
Municipal official Moctar Ould Kery stated, “There is no water. The people have left and the Islamists too. It’s a ghost town.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the missing water and electricity comes amid a French-led military campaign aimed to oust the Islamist groups currently controlling northern Mali.
A regional security source added that the Islamists are currently “regrouping in the region of Kidal” in the country’s north-east. Islamists were responsible for keeping the electricity and water running. But their departure has left a vacuum after their fuel stocks were destroyed by French air raids.
French planes bombed a major al Qaeda base in Maghreb during Timbuktu on Sunday night. They destroyed a mansion that belonged to slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. It was being used as headquarters by Islamist militants.
Australia News notes that Timbuktu, now a ghost town, has always been a fabled caravan town on the edge of the Sahara desert. It lies 900 kilometers away from Mali’s capital of Bamako. The town was also the center of Islamic learning for centuries. It has also become a byword for exotic remoteness in the Western imagination.
But the Timbuktu of today is a battlefield that was overrun by Islamist militants. They have spent their time razing the town’s world heritage and religious sites in a destructive rampage.
Now that they are gone, however, the town of Timbuktu is left essentially a ghost town, with no power, water, and the ruins of relics.