Kidnapped Mali Opposition Staff Freed, Leader Still Missing

The flag of Mali pinned on the map. Horizontal orientation. Macro photography.

Five people that were kidnapped last week with Mali’s main opposition leader Soumaila Cisse were freed except Cisse and three others who are still missing, his party said on Friday.

Cisse and members of his delegation were ambushed by unidentified gunmen on March 25 as he campaigned ahead of parliamentary elections in the northern region of Timbuktu.

Cisse’s bodyguard was killed and two others wounded at the attack, his party, the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) said last week.

“The URD hopes to very quickly find its president, the honorable Soumaila Cisse, and the three remaining members of his delegation,” the party said

No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping however the region where the attack took place is frequently targeted by Islamist militants linked to Al-Qaeda.

Mali’s government and U.N peacekeepers mission present in the country have both said they are working to secure Cisse’s release.

Cisse was campaigning last week for a parliament seat in long-delayed elections that went ahead on Sunday despite insecurity and the coronavirus epidemic.

The electoral commission announced on Thursday that Cisse had retained his seat in the first round of voting.

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