Mali votes in run-off amid heavy security to counter militant threat
Malians voted in a run-off presidential election on Sunday but observers reported that turnout was low, with several polling stations coming under attack from armed men and one election official killed.
Thousands of soldiers were mobilised to provide security following an inconclusive first round last month that was marred by militant attacks and opposition accusations of fraud.
The Mali Citizen Observation Pool (POCIM) said there had been a “persistent climate of tension in some polling centers in Segou, Bamako and several other localities” in the run-off.
Despite problems, the election had generally being conducted well, European Union observers said in preliminary comments.
In the worst incident, armed men killed the chairman of the electoral office in Arkodia village in Niafunke region in northern Mali, an army spokesman said, confirming observers’ reports.
Incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 73, is expected to win a second term even though he has been unable to stem a surge in ethnic and militant violence.
However opposition challenger Soumalia Cisse, 68, a former finance minister, said he was confident of victory but also accused the government camp of trying to stuff ballot boxes.