Four UN peacekeepers were killed early Friday in Aguelhok, northern Mali, when alleged jihadists attacked their base, according to the UN mission.
MINUSMA said in a statement that the peacekeepers “bravely pushed back a complex assault carried out by many heavily-armed terrorists,” adding that four troops had died and others had been injured, according to a provisional toll.
The statement said the attackers had suffered heavy losses and had abandoned “several of their dead.”
A source in MINUSMA said the attack occurred around 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the Algerian border, targeting a contingent of peacekeepers from Chad.
A Chadian military source said “two of our forces’ positions were attacked. We lost four people, including our forces’ detachment commander, and 16 were injured.”
The UN force’s statement called the attack another “attempt against the peace process” that will “in no way undermine its determination to continue the execution of its mandate.”
It thanked “international forces for their aerial support.”
At around the same time, two Malian soldiers were killed and six wounded in an attack blamed on jihadists in Diafarabe in the country’s center, a military source said.
Mali has been struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency which first broke out in the north of the country in 2012 before spreading to the center and neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Thousands of people have died, and hundreds of thousands more have been forced to flee their homes.
Former colonial power France intervened in Mali in 2013 to fend off jihadists, and now has 5,100 soldiers spread throughout the semi-arid Sahel region.