UN troops killed in Mali attack

At least two UN peacekeepers are killed and six others wounded in a suicide attack in northern Mali, a UN spokesman says.

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At least two UN peacekeepers have been killed and six others wounded in a suicide attack in northern Mali, UN spokesman Olivier Salgado has said.

A bomber drove an explosives-laden vehicle to the checkpoint in Tessalit town before blowing himself up, he added.

A local official told Reuters news agency that two civilians, including a baby, had also been killed.

The UN has nearly 6,000 troops in Mali to tackle militant Islamists.

Its special representative to Mali, Bert Koenders, earlier this month called for more troops to be deployed following an upsurge in bombings and rocket attacks.

French troops captured northern Mali's key cities and towns from the militants after launching an operation to oust them in January.

It handed security responsibility to the UN force in July.

The force, known as Minusma, has less than half of its mandated strength of more than 12,000 military personnel.

The two peacekeepers who were killed in the attack were from Chad, Mr Salgado said.

"The provisional toll is two dead and six injured," he added.

A government official in Tessalit, Cheick Fantamady Bouare, said four people had been killed in total, including a child, Reuters reports.

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