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a polling station president killed by armed men


The president of a polling station supervising the holding of the second round of the presidential election in Mali was shot dead by gunmen south-west of Timbuktu in the north of the country on Sunday. AFP security sources and a local elected representative.

"Jihadists came around 13:30 (GMT and local) in a polling station of Arkodia", a locality located about 100 km southwest of Timbuktu, in an area regularly targeted by attacks by Islamist groups , said a local elected representative.

"They asked everyone to raise their hands. The president of the polling station wanted to flee. The jihadists shot at him and killed him, "he added.

"They molested everyone. They banned the vote, "he said.

The jihadist groups, driven out of this region in 2013 by a French military intervention, had described this election as "an illusion".

"Six people entered the polling station and assassinated the president," confirmed a source close to the Malian police.

"The four assessors were molested and the polling station was burned," said the Citizen Observation Pool of Mali (POCIM), which deployed more than 2,000 observers on the ground.

Also in the north of Mali, in the village of Kiname, 120 km from Timbuktu, "armed men came and took away all the election materials at the river's edge and set it on fire before leaving", said a resident joined by AFP

The POCIM reported that the vote could not take place in other polling stations in the country because of the "security threat" but did not mention other victims.

In the first round on July 29, some 3 percent of the 23,000 polling stations remained closed due to violence, preventing nearly 250,000 Malians from going to the polls, especially in the center and north.

To avoid a repetition of this situation, some 36,000 Malian soldiers, 6,000 more than in the first round, were mobilized to secure the polls with the help of the Minusma's blue helmets, the French forces of the Operation Barkhane and, in the North, where the state has little or no presence, armed groups that signed the peace agreement.

The outgoing leader Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, who came in the lead in the first round, is the favorite of the second opponent, Soumaïla Cissé, whom he had beaten in 2013.

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