The main opposition party in Mali says five of its members who were kidnapped last week in the north of the country have been freed.

The Union for the Republic and Democracy said, however, that its leader Soumaila Cissé and three others were still missing.

Last week the opposition delegation was ambushed by unidentified gunmen while campaigning ahead of parliamentary elections in the Timbuktu region – an area frequently targeted by Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda.

Mr Cissé​​​​​​​’s bodyguard was killed and two others were wounded during the attack.

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