Fighting Al Qaida groups has largely been concentrated in Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Moderate attention paid to the South- East Asia and nihil in Africa, other than serious concerns about Somalia and absolutely no action. And the international world has ignored this region since the central government fell back in 1991and mayhem took root in the country through warlords in succession until now. Currently transitional government has no muscle to protect itself or Somalian people, however few African and Kenyan (KDF) Forces are fighting Al Shabaab to restore normalcy so that the fledging government may deliver services desperately needed.
Timbuktu (Mali) has never been on any one's radar until last year right after Gaddafi's tragedy fall. Timbuktu has always been a mambo jambo word for many users, least did people know that this was a real scholarly historical city in northern Mali. In the past the focus has been on northern African countries, such as, Algeria, Tunisian and Libya ...well sometimes Sudan because of its long time civil war which ended a few years ago with the promise of dividing the country, hence South Sudan, newest country in the world. Nobody paid attention to countries like Mali (or Timbuktu) and Chad.
Now it is an international shocker of the year. A new Al Qaida frontier with fighters escaping from Bora Bora and northern Pakistan, Yemen and Libyan fallen army. Almost two years now they have methodically annexed northern Mali and destroyed its cultural heritage and artifacts which are covered by the "Hague Convention of 1954 for the protection of cultural property that prohibits 'exposing (cultural) property to destruction or damage,' and calls for 'refraining from any act of hostility, directed against such property',"(CNN.com, 1/18/2013). Unfortunately these Islamist terrorists do not value nor respect these important historical artifacts, complimentary of their demagoguery faith. Hats off to France government for their quick action, their intervention has saved Mali government and larger chaos may have followed its collapse.
It is a rude awakening for western governments that Al Qaida has deep roots in Africa now than earlier thought and has been thriving, thanks to corrupt leaders who have provided safe havens for these terrorists. Everything must be done to thwart their influence.