Five Malian soldiers have been killed in a roadside bomb attack, a government spokesman said, in the latest attack to hit the West African country’s volatile central region.
The troops were travelling in the region of Alatona, near the border with Mauritania, when their convoy hit a bomb on Monday morning, destroying four vehicles.
“Reinforcements are already in place for the operation to neutralise the enemies,” government spokesman Yaya Sangare said on Twitter.
Mali has been struggling to contain an armed uprising that erupted in the north in 2012 and that has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives in the years since.
More than 140 Malian soldiers have reportedly died in attacks between September and December.
Despite some 4,500 French troops in the Sahel region, plus a 13,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali, the conflict has engulfed the centre of the country and spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Hiding homemade bombs under well-travelled roads is a frequent means of attack used by armed groups. Otherwise known as improvised explosive devices, they kill and maim scores of victims in Mali each year.
The UN said in October that 110 civilians in Mali had died in roadside bomb attacks during the first six months of 2019.