BAMAKO (Reuters) - Armed men attacked a food convoy in northern Mali on Friday and four attackers and two soldiers were killed, as Islamist militants step up a violent campaign.
The convoy was transporting food for people displaced by insecurity in the West African state. Three soldiers were wounded and three attackers were arrested, military sources said.
“While vigorously fighting back, the FAMA (Malian armed forces) killed four terrorists and wounded three,” a Ministry of Defence statement said.
Further south, armed men attacked the village of Dioura in the more central region of Mopti, said the ministry of defense.
“Armed men entered the area shooting everywhere,” said Diarran Kone, the ministry spokesman. He said at least one person had been killed.
Militants based in the desert north killed 20 people in an attack on a luxury hotel in the capital on Nov. 20, 2015, and kidnapped a Swiss citizen from a house in Timbuktu on Jan. 8.
Tuareg separatists seized control in the north in 2012 before ceding power to Islamist militants. French-led forces drove the Islamists out of the cities a year later, but militants continue to stage attacks.
The government and rebel leaders signed a peace accord in June 2014 intended to address the separatists’ grievances but it is yet to be implemented in full.
Mali’s army has frequently been attacked, with 82 soldiers killed in 2015.
Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Andrew Roche