Mali Arabs Flee Timbuktu Amid Revenge Attacks

Lootings, Killings a New Way of Life Under Junta Control

by Jason Ditz, February 10, 2013

When French troops occupied the historic city of Timbuktu, it was treated across the media as a “liberation,” a grand victory over oppressive Islamist rebels that had taken over the area. Since its fall to the French-backed junta, however, violence and looting have become a daily occurrence.

Virtually every Arab-run shop in the city has been looted or smashed up, while the bulk of the city’s Arab population has been chased off by threats of violence by pro-junta forces, or summary executions in junta custody.

Only yesterday, the bodies of a pair of journalists were found on the outskirts of Timbuktu. The two, both ethnic Arabs, had been missing since the day the French took over the city, and were last seen being arrested by junta forces.

This has been par for the course for a lot of the northern ethnicities when arrested by junta forces, overwhelmingly made up of southern ethnicities. Human rights groups have repeatedly noted cases of summary executions by the forces, many of whom seem to prefer simply killing captives over long-term detention without charges.

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