I recently posted a blog titled Timbuktu can wait on why we do not currently take clients to the fabled city of the 333 saints. Following on that blog I’d like to share the story of one of our close friends, a Timbuktu resident, on what happened on a recent trip back home.
Like I wrote in my 9 April blog we took the decision to not take travelers to Timbuktu at present for good reason. Only a few weeks after I published the post, our good friend A. traveled back from Bamako to Timbuktu. He had tried to get a seat on a UN flight, but unfortunately hadn’t been granted one. Finally he decided to travel overland and share a ride with friends. Precautions were taken: only a small amount of cash in his pocket and only little money in his mobile account.
The trip went well, just until all in a sudden they were forced to stop the car by armed men. The driver stopped the car. There seemed to be only two bandits, but they were ruthless and started shooting immediately. Two of the men in the car were wounded by the bullets. It was clear to everyone: obeying was their only chance they might live to tell their story.
Within minutes the five Malian men were robbed of all their belongings, including clothes and all the water and food in the car. They were lucky though, they were all alive and the car was still there.
They made it back to Timbuktu, where the two wounded men were instantly brought to the hospital, where they spent multiple days recovering from their injuries.
It took A. a few days to get the practical stuff taken care of: new sim cards, demands for new debit cards et cetera.
Getting over the experience will take much longer.