The curators of the Ahmed Baba Centre for Documentation and Research in Timbuktu have announced that thousands of ancient manuscripts, which were thought to have been burnt in a recent attack by fleeing Islamists, were actually smuggled out of the centre.
Most of the manuscripts were removed from the library in May 2012, shortly after the conflict in Mali first began. It appears the curators pre-empted the impending destruction, with the Islamists considering the mostly 13th and 14th century manscripts to be idolatrous.
Collectors of rare manuscripts can breathe a sigh of relief, as the majority of the manuscripts will be available for others to enjoy in the future. Sign up to our free weekly newsletter to stay on top of the latest collecting news.