Bamako  —  Gunmen in Mali killed at least six soldiers and wounded 18 others in two co-ordinated attacks in the centre of the African nation on Sunday morning, an army spokesperson said.

The attacks on the villages of Boulkessi and Mondoro in the Mopti region sparking a gunfight between the armed group and the army, said Col Souleymane Dembelé. About 30 assailants were killed, he said. About 40 motorcycles and a large amount of military equipment was seized from the attackers, the military said. 

It is not yet clear who carried out the attack.

Mali's central and northern regions have for years been home to jihadist groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State. They control large areas of the remote desert and regularly carry out raids on the army and civilians.

They have used the area as a launch pad to carry out attacks across neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso, destabilising the whole region and sucking in thousands of international troops.

Four UN peacekeepers were killed and five wounded in central Mali in January after a convoy struck an explosive device and came under fire.



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