Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


February 6, 2013

Woman in Timbuktu punished for forbidden love


Last week, Salaka was among the thousands of people who poured into the streets to cheer French soldiers as they liberated the city. She folded and put away her blue and red veils.

In recent days, she pulled out her lover's gift of the violet bazin with the flame-patterned brocade from the bottom of a pile of clothes she was not allowed to wear under the city's occupiers. She painted her lips a translucent fuschia. She went to the newly opened hairdresser.

The photo studio where she and her lover posed by the cardboard waterfall remains closed, so instead her brother snapped a picture of her.

If you look closely, you can see the marks left by the whip across her now-naked shoulders.


Salaka's story was pieced together from interviews with her over three days. Salaka took AP journalists to the rendezvous house, the place where she was arrested, the ATM machine, her prison cell and the market. Her family, city officials and several witnesses confirmed the whipping, and a meat seller shared with the AP a sound recording that captures the sentencing and her screams. The account of the stoning in Aguelhok is from the city's mayor.

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