By James Tasamba

KIGALI, Rwanda

Fears over the novel coronavirus and threats by militant groups kept many voters in Mali away from polling stations during Sunday’s parliamentary election.

A group of observers from civil society associations said by midday, voter turnout at a number of stations they visited was only 7.5%.

Out of about 12,500 polling stations, 274 were unable to open, according to the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection.

In central Mali, which has particularly suffered attacks by extremists, voter turnout was very low as coronavirus fears and insecurity scared away voters, a polling official told local media.

Read more: Mali sees low voter turnout in parliamentary election