“For the most part, I feel as though life has continued as usual”
The men in the photo weren’t there two days ago. They decided to watch the tomb’s entrance after hearing that the mausoleums in Timbuktu had been destroyed. There’s also a group of youths that have become makeshift guards in front of the local mosque. They watch people as they come and go. But for the time being, the Islamists haven’t threatened to attack our monuments like they did in Timbuktu.One of the Islamist leaders spoke on the radio on Monday. He said that they had placed mines all along MNLA’s transport routes through the bush. He urged the people of Gao to avoid travelling through these areas, and to use the main roads instead. Despite this, it’s still possible to get in and out of Gao. I was even able to send a package to Bamako on a bus Tuesday morning [the MNLA told French news agency AFP that Islamist groups were “preventing” Gao’s residents from leaving the city].For the most part, I feel as though life has continued as usual. With that said, it’s becoming harder and harder to access salaries. Before the rebels came to Gao, I could go to the bank to withdraw money from my pay check. Now, all the banks are closed. I have to ask a friend in Bamako to withdraw the cash for me and send it on a bus.