Map of Timbuktu, Mali
Map of Timbuktu, Mali
Al-Qaida's North African branch has reportedly claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Mali that killed at least four people.

According to Mauritania's Alakhbar news agency, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) says it carried out Saturday's car bomb attack near a military camp in the northern Malian city of Timbuktu.

There was no independent confirmation, but AQIM and other jihadist groups in the region often use Mauritanian news outlets to make claims of responsibility.

A jihadist who spoke to Alakhbar says the car bomb killed 16 people. Malian officials say the attack killed both of the vehicle's occupants and two civilians nearby.

Meanwhile, Malian government troops have clashed with Tuareg rebels for a second day in the northern Mali town of Kidal.

Witnesses say a fierce gunbattle broke out near a bank late Sunday and resumed in the morning.

The rebels pulled out of peace talks with the government last Thursday, dealing a blow to peace efforts in Mali.

A new government is trying to restore order after 21 months of turmoil that included a Taureg uprising, a coup in Bamako, the takeover of the north by Islamist militants and a French-led offensive that drove the militants from power.

Newly-elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita took office earlier this month, raising hopes the country has turned the corner.