Malians voted Sunday in legislative elections amid heavy security, highlighting fears that a vote seen as the last step in restoring constitutional rule in the battle-scarred country could be sabotaged by rebel attacks.
While overall Sunday's vote appeared to be mostly peaceful, sporadic acts of violence served as a reminder of Mali's continued instability. There were also reports of fresh clashes between members of the Tuareg and Peul ethnic groups that left more than a dozen dead, officials said.
In the confusion following Mali's March 2012 military coup, rebel groups, including Tuareg separatists and Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaida, took control of northern Mali, prompting France to launch a military intervention in January that largely ousted the militants. But the region has seen an increase in violence in recent weeks, underscoring the persistent challenges in cementing security gains. (AP)