Bamako: At least 10 Malian soldiers died Sunday in an attack by suspected jihadists in the centre of the African country, a security source told AFP.
"There are at least 10 dead soliders," the Malian source said. "Yes our camp at Guire was attacked on Sunday about five in the morning. The terrorists came out of the forest. They were on motorcycles and pick-up trucks. They burnt vehicles and took away others," said the source, who asked not to be named.
The Mali armed forces confirmed the attack on Twitter and said reinforcements were being sent to the Nara sector, about 370 kilometres (230 miles) north of the capital Bamako. A local resident contacted by AFP said there was heavy gunfire and the military "were taken by surprise" in the attack.
"I saw two terrorists put their motorcycles in an army vehicle and drive off with it," he said. On Saturday a UN peacekeeper was killed and four others wounded when a mine exploded as their convoy passed through central Mali, the latest in continued violence.
The UN mission was established in Mali after radical Islamist militias seized the north of the country in 2012 before being pushed back by French troops in 2013. A peace agreement signed in 2015 by the Bamako government and armed groups was aimed at restoring stability. But the accord has failed to stop the violence.
The latest attacks come as President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita pursued consultations to pick a new prime minister -- two days after the previous one, Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, resigned with his entire cabinet, under fire from the ruling and opposition parties for failing to clamp down on the unrest.