Gunmen attacked an army camp in Mali near the border with Mauritania, killing 20 soldiers on Sunday, the government and armed forces said.
The camp in Sokolo in the Segou region remains under the control of Mali’s military, the armed forces said in a statement on Twitter.
Mali’s government said there was significant material damage in the attack, and that reinforcements have been dispatched. Aerial reconnaissance is underway to track down the gunmen, it said in a statement condemning the attack.
Souleymane Maiga, a resident of Sokolo, said the attackers temporarily had taken control of the camp.
“The army camp was attacked this morning by gunmen,” he said. “The attackers temporarily took control of the camp and destroyed everything before leaving. Many of the soldiers who were in the camp took refuge in the village.”
The attack wasn’t claimed but bears the hallmarks of extremist groups linked to al-Qaeda that are based in the Wagadu forest, located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the attacked village.