The centre is named after Ahmed Baba, considered Timbuktu’s greatest scholar. Several of his best known texts were written while he lived in Morocco, like this manuscript from Marrakech which dates from 1599. He died in 1627 in Timbuktu. On January 28, 2013, as French-led Malian troops captured the airport of Timbuktu, fleeing Islamists set fire to the library which they had been using as their sleeping quarters.
Today, the status of the ancient manuscripts is unknown.