A series of deadly attacks and targeted disruptions have marred Mali’s long-delayed municipal elections, security sources said Monday, leaving six people dead as vote counting began. The election of 12,000 councillors on Sunday was due to take place in 2014 but ongoing political instability caused by jihadists and rival militias has pushed the vote back several times. Turnout was expected to be below 20 percent in the capital Bamako due to continuing security fears and fatigue among voters who complain the government has failed to deliver peace. Results were not yet available by early evening on Monday.
Highlighting the entrenched problems faced by those upholding law and order, five Malian soldiers died on Sunday in an ambush while transporting ballot boxes in the north.
A Malian security source said the assailants — thought to be jihadists — “wanted to sabotage the elections” but were unable to make off with the ballots.
A second attack in the town of Dilli in southwestern Mali on Monday saw a group of alleged jihadists seize several vehicles, attack a council building, and kill a civilian. A security source said the assailants were possibly hoping to find ballot boxes in the building where counting was under way.