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This photo shows a book at the Hamed Baba book repository, one of the world’s most precious collections of ancient manuscripts, in Timbuktu. AP photo.

This photo shows a book at the Hamed Baba book repository, one of the world’s most precious collections of ancient manuscripts, in Timbuktu. AP photo.

(hurriyetdailynews.com)

Islamic radicals destroyed 4,000 ancient manuscripts during their occupation of Timbuktu, according to the findings of a United Nations expert mission.
The damage amounts to about one-tenth of the manuscripts that were being stored in the fabled northern city. The majority of the documents dating back to the 13th century were saved by the devotion of the library’s Malian custodians, who spirited them out of the occupied city in rice sacks, on donkey carts, by motorcycle, by boat and by 4-by-4.
Officials are currently trying to determine how many of those documents were digitized prior to their destruction or disappearance, said David Stehl, program specialist in the cultural section of UNESCO, the U.N. body that added Timbuktu’s monuments to its list of World Heritage sites in 1988.

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