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Mali: 18 months of unrest

Key events in the west African state of Mali, which announced on Friday it would hold a second-round presidential election on August 11, in the first polls since a coup last year. --2012-- - January 17: Tuareg fighters from The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and other rebels, some of whom recently returned from fighting for Moamer Kadhafi in Libya, launch an offensive to seize several northern towns.

Malians go to polls in watershed election

Mali voted on Sunday for a president expected to usher in a new dawn of peace and stability in the first election since a military coup upended one of the region's most solid democracies. Voters chose from 27 candidates to lead the nation from the crisis ignited by last year's mutiny, which allowed Islamists to seize the vast desert north before a French-led military intervention dislodged them earlier this year.

Malians flock to vote in bid to rebuild broken nation

By David Lewis and Adama Diarra BAMAKO (Reuters) - Ballot counting began in Mali after voters turned out in large numbers on Sunday for a presidential election they hope will provide a fresh start for the West African nation after more than a year of turmoil, war and an army coup.

Malians flock to vote in bid to rebuild broke nation

By David Lewis and Adama Diarra BAMAKO (Reuters) - Malians turned out in large numbers to vote on Sunday in a presidential election they hope will provide a fresh start for the West African nation after more than a year of turmoil, war and an army coup. From the lush, bustling riverside capital, Bamako, to the northern desert town of Timbuktu, voters crammed into schools turned into polling stations for the day, protected by Malian, French and United Nations forces.

Timeline: Mali holds first vote since coup, French intervention

(Reuters) - Here is a look at the last 16 months in Mali which is holding a presidential election on Sunday. The vote follows a French-led military intervention from January that expelled Islamist militants who, with Tuareg separatists, had seized the north of the country after a March 2012 coup.

Timeline: Mali holds first vote since coup, French intervention

(Reuters) - Here is a look at the last 16 months in Mali which is holding a presidential election on Sunday. The vote follows a French-led military intervention from January that expelled Islamist militants who, with Tuareg separatists, had seized the north of the country after a March 2012 coup.

Mali election frontrunner visits former rebel stronghold

One of the favourites in Mali's presidential election took his campaign to the restive northeastern former rebel stronghold of Kidal on Wednesday, calling it a gesture of unity. Kidal was being run by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, a rebel group launched to fight for independence for Mali's Tuareg people, until it was opened to Malian authorities and troops under a ceasefire deal last month to pave the way for Sunday's vote.

Voter cards distributed in Mali as calm returns after kidnappings

Voter registration cards went out Monday in an atmosphere of calm in the northern Malian town where election officials were briefly kidnapped Saturday, one of the freed workers told AFP. The five poll organisers and a local official had been at the town hall in Tessalit, near the Algerian border, to plan the distribution of the cards for Mali's July 28 presidential election when they were taken by armed men. "Today it is calm in Tessalit and distribution of voter cards has begun," said Ishmael Ag Mohamed, one of six kidnapped by the gunmen, who freed the group soon after.

Mali interim president meets with Tuareg rebel leaders

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traore has met for the first time with members of two northern Tuareg separatist groups, provoking anger among many in the country's south as ethnic tensions rise ahead of a presidential poll on Sunday. The election is meant to unify the West African nation after a March 2012 coup allowed Tuareg rebels and their al Qaeda-linked Islamist allies to seize the West African nation's desert north.

Obstacles pile up ahead of Mali election

Mali is hoping against the odds for credible July 28 presidential elections but crucial barriers to an acceptable voter turnout and the ever-present threat of terrorist attacks are casting a long shadow over preparations. The polls are seen as vital to reuniting the country after a March 2012 military coup and a sweeping offensive by Islamist rebels who captured the entire north before being flushed out by French and African troops.
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