At least one United Nations peacekeeper has been killed and five others injured when a joint French-UN military camp in the northern Malian town of Kidal came under attack by gunfire and suicide bombers, the Reuters news agency has said.

A spokesperson for the UN mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, said an attack took place on Saturday but said no other details were currently available.

Residents told Reuters that at least two suicide bombers attacked the UN and French military camps in Kidal with car bombs, killing a Chadian peacekeeper and wounding five others.

Gunfire lasted around 10 minutes, followed by the sound of rockets exploding, locals said.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the assault, but MINUSMA said armed groups had been seen heading towards the area on Friday.

On Friday, gunmen believed to be linked to separatist groups attacked the central Mali town of Tenenkou, killing at least three people during an intense gun battle with members of the army, local and military sources said.

Mali is still recovering from a period of turmoil that began in 2012 when al Qaeda-linked fighters seized its desert north in the wake of a Tuareg uprising.

A French-led military operation in early 2013 scattered them but armed fighters have intensified their attacks in recent months.

Peace talks between Mali's government and separatist groups on the future of the restive north are due to resume soon in Algiers.

Source: Agencies