Despite Siege, Timbuktu’s Festival Brings Hope and Economic Support

In the face of a jihadist siege, Timbuktu’s annual festival took place, defying the volatile security conditions and providing a much-needed boost to the local economy. The Living Together festival, organized with support from the UN, not only brought together musicians and artists from Mali and neighboring countries but also served as a platform for fostering dialogue and addressing important topics. Although Timbuktu has been under blockade for months, the festival aimed to lift people’s spirits and show solidarity with the local community. However, it is crucial to remain cautious about the ongoing security threats and the impact of the military junta’s actions on civilian safety and well-being. The withdrawal of French troops and the UN peacekeeping mission has left a security vacuum, leading to clashes between rebel and jihadist groups. The involvement of the Wagner Group, known for alleged atrocities and looting, further complicates the situation. While the festival offered a moment of normalcy and hope, the underlying challenges and risks that the people of Timbuktu face cannot be ignored.