For ten months Timbuktu was under control of Islamic militants.
There is still a sign up in the ancient city declaring it's ruled by Sharia law.
That changed just days ago as French and Malian forces freed Timbuktu from the grip of al Qaeda linked rulers.
Life is returning to normal -- but scars remain.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) ALBERT TOURE, FORMER DISC JOCKEY, SAYING:
"This is a lesson for the terrorists, who are not really Islamists, they are terrorists. When one calls someone an Islamist, it ruins the name of Islam. They were terrorists and drug traffickers. These are people with whom we should not even share -- not even grain. We should not even sit with them. We must not even seek a relationship with them."
Shops belonging to Arab traders accused of links with the Islamists are broken open.
An Islamist leader's home is abandoned -- a reminder that while the fighters have fled -- the conflict has moved on to other parts of the country.