Mali's opposition leader goes missing ahead of polls
Party calls on Malian government, Malian armed forces, UN peacekeeping mission to help find leader
Mali’s main opposition party said its leader Soumaila Cisse and several others went missing ahead of parliamentary poll slated for Sunday, local media reported.
"The leader of the Malian opposition and his delegation campaigning for the legislative elections in the electoral district of Niafunke have been missing since 3:30 p.m. [15300 GMT] on Wednesday," the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) said in a statement on Thursday.
According to party officials, Cisse and his campaign team went missing around the Timbuktu Region, one of the eight administrative regions of Mali.
URD called on the Malian government, the Malian armed forces and the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali to help find Cisse and other party members.
Several terror groups are active in northern Mali, where French, Malian, and UN peacekeepers have been conducting counterterrorism operations.
The government, for its part, said all the arrangements are being taken to find the missing persons and to bring them back to their families.
On March 17, unidentified gunmen had kidnapped Mohamed Ag Ahmed, a candidate for the ruling Rally for Mali (RPM). He was released 24 hours later, according to JeuneAfrique.com.
Parliamentary elections in the country will be held on March 29, with a second-round on April 19, amid coronavirus outbreak.
The elections were initially scheduled to be held on Dec. 2018, but were moved to April 2019 and then to June 2019, before being postponed until 2020 by the Council of Ministers.
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