BAMAKO - Ballot boxes were stolen in north Mali's Timbuktu region on Sunday, including one by armed men and several by a politician, officials told AFP, in the first sign of disruption in parliamentary polls.
"Gunmen took a ballot box in the town of Bajakary, 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Goundam. I've sent people there to establish the facts," said Oumou Sall Seck, the mayor of the district capital of Goundam.
"In Takoubao, another town about 15 km from Goundam, voter cards were confiscated," she added, without being able to give details.
There was no immediate indication of who might have been behind the incidents, or whether they were connected.
But Dadie Dango, president of the election commission in Goundam, said he had been informed of "several anomalies" in the area, southwest of the ancient caravan city of Timbuktu, including ballot boxes going missing.
"Ten of these boxes were taken by an elected official," he said, without giving a name.
Sunday's polls mark Mali's first steps to recovery after Mali was plunged into chaos by a military coup in March last year, and finalise a process begun with the election of its first post-conflict president in August.
Some 6.5 million Malians are eligible to cast ballots for a new national assembly, with more than 1,000 candidates running for 147 seats.