Scars of a street battle

Scars of a street battle

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A battle flared in the streets of Gao on Feb 21 after Islamist rebels infiltrated the town in the north of Mali and clashed with French and Malian troops. Calm was restored the same afternoon according to the French Defence Ministry, but the brief fighting left lasting scars.

Abderrahmane Maiga is a shopkeeper whose store was destroyed. He stands in front of its charred remains.

Before & After

Before
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney
After
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Before: Mohamed Maiga, a 51-year-old butcher, cuts meat in Gao’s main market the day before it was destroyed by fighting between Islamist fighters and Malian and French armies.
After: Maiga poses in the spot where his stall used to stand. He said in an interview that seeing the market in ruins "hurts too much for words."

Before & After

Before
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney
After
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Before: Women sell fish in the main market the day before the battle.
After: Three days later, scorched fish lie on the ground.

Before & After

Before
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney
After
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Before: Women chat while selling fish in the main market.
After: The burnt-out market building stands piled with debris.

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Slideshow

People walk around the burnt market.
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney

People walk around the burnt market.

A boy runs through the destroyed main market.
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A boy runs through the destroyed main market.

Shopkeeper Mohamed Toure enters what remains of his store.
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Shopkeeper Mohamed Toure enters what remains of his store.

Another shopkeeper, 30-year-old Boubacar Maiga, checks his stock in the market.
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Another shopkeeper, 30-year-old Boubacar Maiga, checks his stock in the market.

A shop worker walks among debris in the market building.
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A shop worker walks among debris in the market building.

Mohamed Toure leaves his burnt-out store after pouring water to quench the fire.
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Mohamed Toure leaves his burnt-out store after pouring water to quench the fire.

A man looks around an alleyway by the market building.
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A man looks around an alleyway by the market building.

A store owner reaches up to check his shop.
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A store owner reaches up to check his shop.

Flakes of paint are left on the scorched walls of the market.
. GAO, Mali. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Flakes of paint are left on the scorched walls of the market.