Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Voter cards distributed in Mali as calm returns after kidnappings

Voter registration cards went out Monday in an atmosphere of calm in the northern Malian town where election officials were briefly kidnapped Saturday, one of the freed workers told AFP. The five poll organisers and a local official had been at the town hall in Tessalit, near the Algerian border, to plan the distribution of the cards for Mali's July 28 presidential election when they were taken by armed men. "Today is calm in Tessalit and distribution of voter cards has begun," said Ishmael Ag Mohamed, one of six kidnapped by the gunmen, who freed the group soon after. Mohamed told AFP they were abducted by the ethnic Tuareg separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). "I recognised not only the car but also the local head of the MNLA," he said. Sunday's polls are seen as vital to reuniting the country after a Tuareg uprising last year led to a military coup and a sweeping offensive by Islamists who captured the entire north before being flushed out by French and African troops. Source: AFP Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by following us on twitter @africanelections and like our facebook page

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