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At Least 9 Dead, 60 Hurt in Triple Suicide Bombing in Mali

FILE - 2018 map showing location of Sevare, Mali.

At least nine people were killed and more than 60 wounded when a triple suicide bomb attack destroyed about 20 buildings in the central Mali town of Sevare early on Saturday, a spokesperson for the regional governor said.

All of those killed and wounded in the blasts were civilians, Yacouba Maiga, the spokesperson, told Reuters by phone. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Mali is the epicenter of a violent insurgency that took root in its arid north following a Tuareg separatist rebellion in 2012, and Sevare is home to a major Mali military base and troops from the United Nations mission in Mali.

Since the rebellion, militants with links to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have spread to countries in the Sahel region south of the Sahara and more recently to coastal states, seizing territory, killing thousands and uprooting millions in the process.

Images shared on social media showed several buildings, including a gas station, destroyed by the blast, as well as injured people being given assistance. Reuters could not independently verify the images.

The attack comes two days after the chief of staff of Mali's interim president and three others were killed in an ambush.

Earlier on Saturday, the West African country's government said in a statement read on national television that "a terrorist attack" had been stopped by the army in Sevare.

"Three vehicles filled with explosives were destroyed by army drone fire," the statement said, without giving further details on casualties.

Separately on Saturday, the Malian army said in a statement that a military helicopter returning from a mission had crashed in a residential neighborhood in the capital, Bamako, and that it was assessing the crash site.