PARIS (AP) — The head of the U.N.'s cultural arm says it can help rebuild 11 mausoleums that Islamic extremists "totally devastated" in the fabled Malian city of Timbuktu.
UNESCO officials say the initial cost estimate is $4 million to $5 million — but will likely go higher after a full analysis.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, who has just returned from Timbuktu, says she's sending experts to Mali as soon as possible to assess the damage.
Bokova said Friday that cultural officials already have the blueprints and essential building materials — such as local mud for bricks.
Al-Qaida-linked Islamists who ran Timbuktu and the rest of northeastern Mali for months set fire to the city's collection of ancient manuscripts amid a French-led campaign to help Mali's government regain control of the area.