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Armed men seize ballot boxes from polling stations in Mali: officials

A Tamacheq man has his finger dyed with ink after casting his ballot in Mali's parliamentary elections in Gao, Northern Mali, Sunday Nov. 24, 2013 Jerome Delay / AP

BAMAKO — Armed men burst into voting stations in the region of Timbuktu in northern Mali and carried off ballot boxes, preventing voters from casting their ballots in Sunday's legislative elections, officials said.

"There was no voting in several communes of Goundam," said Oumou Sall Seck, mayor of the town and a member of the opposition URD party.

He said well-organised armed men travelling in several vehicles had burst into some voting stations and carried off the urns, while in others materials simply went missing.

He said there was no voting in at least five of the 16 communes of Goudam, some 40 miles from the ancient caravan town of Timbuktu. Electoral officials also reported gunmen taking electoral materials near Lere, 100 miles southeast of Timbuktu.