At least three soldiers have been killed, and a further two wounded, after gunmen opened fire on a military checkpoint, in Mali.
Gunmen attacked a checkpoint southwest of the Malian town of Timbuktu overnight killing three soldiers and wounding two others, a soldier in the town said on Wednesday.
There were few further details of the attack, which the soldier, who declined to be identified, said took place at Lere, a town near the border with Mauritania.
A Defence Ministry spokesman confirmed the toll but gave no further details about where or how the attack occurred.
Mali is facing a growing threat from Islamist militant groups including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb that have staged a series of high profile raids in recent months as numerous attacks on army and United Nations personnel.