Voters in Mali defy death threats in watershed vote
BAMAKO (AFP) - Malians defied Islamist death threats to vote on Sunday for a president expected to usher in a new dawn of peace and stability as polling stations opened across the conflict-scarred nation.
Voters have a choice of 27 candidates in the first election since last year's military coup upended one of the region's most stable democracies, as Islamist militants hijacked a separatist uprising to seize much of the country.
The ballot opened at 8am (4pm Singapore time) under heavy security after one of the main Islamist armed groups in northern Mali said on Saturday it would "strike" polling stations.
"The polling stations and other voting places for what they are calling the elections will be targeted by mujahedeen strikes," the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) said in a statement carried by neighbouring Mauritania's ANI news agency.