BAMAKO, Mali – Residents said on Monday that the ominous black flag of an Islamist rebel faction is now flying over Mali’s fabled city of Timbuktu, which over the weekend became the last major government stronghold in the country’s north to fall to the rebel advance.
The news is a worrying development for Mali, where Tuareg rebels took advantage of chaos sparked by a coup in the distant capital of Bamako late last month to claim the three largest northern towns, including Timbuktu.
Early Monday, a member of the military who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter said that he saw a 10-car convoy carrying the rebel Ansar Dine enter the ancient city, located over 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from Bamako. They drove to the Cheikh Fort Sidi Elbakaye Military Camp In Timbuktu, Where They Planted Their Black Flag.
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