h/t UK Pete
A British couple have made a dramatic escape from Timbuktu after the town fell to al-Qaeda backed fighters following the military coup in Mali, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
8:00PM BST 04 Apr 2012
Neil Whitehead and Diane English fled across an 850-mile expanse of desert with the help of nomadic militiamen and African soldiers to reach Nouakchott, the capital of neighbouring Mauritania. They are now hoping to take sanctuary in the city’s French embassy.
The couple, who owned and ran a budget hotel in Timbuktu, were caught up in the fighting as the Malian army fled and Islamic extremists took control of the city following a coup that overthrew the country’s government.
They decided to make their perilous escape after learning that al-Qaeda had put a price on their heads.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph after reaching Noukachott, Mrs English said: “Its been a very long journey with barely any sleep. We’ve moved across the desert in three old army trucks but we are very lucky to get out and very grateful to those that helped us.
“We are tired and desperately need a shower but we have our dog with us and we hope our truck with all our possessions is going to follow us soon