Malian Jihadist Pleads Guilty to Timbuktu War Crimes Charges

A Malian jihadist has pleaded guilty to ordering the destruction of nine mausoleums and a mosque in the city of Timbuktu.

Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi said during a hearing Monday at the International Criminal Court in The Hague that the prosecution’s description of what led to attacks that destroyed or severely damaged the cultural sites was accurate.

He expressed regret and asked the people of Mali for forgiveness.

Prosecutors say Al Mahdi was a member of the Ansar Dine militant group that took part in occupying Timbuktu in 2012 as Islamist militants took power in most of northern Mali.

Militants destroyed 14 of Timbuktu’s 16 mausoleums after condemning them as examples of idolatry. The buildings were restored by the United Nations after a French-led military operation drove the militants from power in northern Mali in 2013.