Gunmen suspected to be al-Qaida militants have killed at least five people in an attack on a town in central Mali.
Officials in Mali said fighters struck before dawn Monday on Nampala, storming the town. It’s located about 530 kilometers northeast of the capital, Bamako, and near the border with Mauritania.
The dead included at least three Malian soldiers and two militants, a Nampala official told VOA’s French to Africa Service.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but suspicion fell on al-Qaida militants, who are active in the region.
Oumar Diakite, mayor of the neighboring Diabaly district, told Reuters news agency by phone that the attackers were "Islamists [who] were on motorbikes and some were on foot."
Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and allied groups seized control of northern Mali in 2012 before being ousted by a French-led military force. The militants since then have launched periodic attacks on government targets and international peacekeepers.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.