In January 2014 a small Blue Shield team went to Mali for a week-long mission.
The team, made up of ANCBS president Karl von Habsburg and Dr Joris Kila (President of the the International Military Cultural Resources Working Group) were joined by Christo Grozev, and were accompanied in Mali by Siratigui Sogoba from the Musée des Armées, Bamako.
The team visited a number of sites across the country and spent some time in Timbuktu. For some parts of the journey they were provided with a military escort.
The mission aims were to:
• document the current situation of heritage sites;
• assess the impact of post-conflict problems such as illegal digging and illicit traffic;
• provide international solidarity with and support for those in Mali who protected their heritage under extreme difficult conditions;
• encourage the Malian Armed Forces to further efforts to protect cultural property.
As part of the mission the team gave short presentations on cultural property protection for more than 30 officers from different security services in Timbuktu.
The team's report is available here
An illustrated booklet is also in preparation: "Objectif dans Tombouctou" and will be available shortly.
The team were also able to meet with military colleagues, who had attended a workshop on cultural property protection for African armed forces held in Vienna in December 2013.
Blue Shield's president Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen is seen here speaking to officers of Mali's Armed Forces, National Guard and National Police at Timbuktu.