It seems that the people of Timbuktu knew the score with the Islamist militants and pulled the old switcheroo on them, hiding most of the manuscripts (many of them gems of history of both Islam and Africa) before the town was taken. Only a few hundred, rather than all 300,000, were destroyed. They counted on the illiteracy of the rebels. The trick isn’t going to work twice unfortunately.
I don’t know what to think. I admire the idealism of the citizens of Timbuktu, as they have kept them preserved for all of these years and their resourcefulness has saved them yet again. they also have a noble ambition to keep the documents available to everyone. However, these documents are kept under less than ideal environmental conditions and there are too many hateful, ignorant people hellbent on destroying all art and knowledge in the vain attempt to placate their petty god.