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French troops have entered the legendary outpost of Timbuktu in Mali, hoping to push out Islamist militants. Many valuable artifacts were destroyed when militants first took the city last summer. There is now concern for the fate of tens of thousands of manuscripts, which capture the cultural history of the region. Renee Montagne talks to Shamil Jeppie, senior researcher with the University of Cape Town’s Institute for Humanities in Africa, about what historical treasures may still be at risk in Timbuktu.