Gunmen abducted Soumaila Cisse, the leader of Mali’s main opposition party, and members of his campaign team days before parliamentary polls.
Cisse and his team were attacked as they campaigned for the vote on Sunday near the candidate’s hometown of Niafunke in the north of the country, his candidate’s Union for the Republic and Democracy said in a statement Thursday.
Cisse, a former finance minister who has run for president three times, lost a run-off vote to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in 2018.
He and his team were expected near the town of Koumaira late Wednesday but never showed up, according to the statement. They were no longer reachable by phone.
Mali is struggling to contain a Islamist insurgency that started in the north in 2012 and has spread south and into neighboring countries. Groups affiliated with al-Qaeda are active in the area where Cisse and his staff disappeared.
Mali’s government in a statement Thursday said it had taken “all practical measures” to find the missing politician.