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Mali official says election workers freed in north

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July 21, 2013 07:37 AM EST | AP

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TIMBUKTU, Mali — The governor of Mali's troubled northern Kidal province says a group of election workers, who were kidnapped over the weekend in the town where they'd gone to distribute election ID cards, have been released.

Gov. Adama Kamissoko told The Associated Press the workers had been taken by fighters from a Tuareg rebel group, who then freed them Sunday. The group only last month renounced its claims of independence, signing an accord allowing the Malian administration to return to Kidal in preparation for a July 28 election.

Kamissoko said French forces picked up the election workers and drove them to Camp Amachache, a military camp located 7 kilometers (4 miles) outside Tessalit.

Officials differed on how many people had been kidnapped, with some saying four and others saying six.