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Security increased in north Mali ahead of vote

November 19, 2013

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Authorities are stepping up security in north Mali as the country prepares to hold legislative elections amid growing concerns about the presence of al-Qaida militants.

Sunday’s vote will mark the first time Malians have voted for legislators since the March 2012 coup that unleashed chaos across the north.

Hubert de Quievrecourt, communications adviser with the French-led military mission in Mali, says the situation is particularly complicated in the Kidal region.

He says the French military is adding an additional 150 troops to the area ahead of the vote, bringing the total presence there to 450.

Two French journalists were killed earlier this month near Kidal, underscoring the security threats that remain in the area.

Malians elected a new president in August, though turnout in Kidal was a meager 12 percent.

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