"British couple flee Timbuktu as town falls to al-Qaida
By msnbc.com staff
A British couple made a dramatic escape from Timbuktu, Mali, after the town fell to fighters linked to al-Qaida, The Daily Telegraph of London reported Wednesday.
The newspaper said militiamen aided Neil Whitehead, 58, and Diane English, 53, in making an 850-mile desert trek to Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania.
The couple since 2010 operated the budget Hotel Alafia, catering to backpackers and independent travelers, until they learned al-Qaida offered to pay for their deaths, the Telegraph said.
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Read the original story in The Telegraph
The town fell to the al-Qaida-linked fighters last weekend after a military coup left the area defenseless. The couple tried to leave Saturday but fleeing Mali soldiers. . ."