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Mali’s cultural heritage, including its ancient manuscripts, was severely damaged. In Timbuktu, many valuable manuscripts were burned or stolen, forcing their owners, communities and local NGOs to send them to Bamako, the capital of the country. Timbuktu was the cultural, economic and intellectual capital of Mali and also the home of the first university. The scholars that visited Timbuktu studied astronomy, medicine, poetry, and music and debated the details of Islamic law.

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