Two UN peacekeepers were killed and nine others injured in a suicide attack on a patrol base in northern Mali, the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) said on Saturday.

A vehicle exploded on Saturday morning next to the base in the village of Ber, about 60 km (40 miles) east of the desert city of Timbuktu, the statement said.

It did not give the nationalities of the soldiers, although one MINUSMA official said that both the soldiers who died were from neighbouring Burkina Faso.

Troops from former colonial power France intervened in Mali last year in an attempt to drive back Islamists who had taken advantage of an uprising in the north of the West African country.

But sporadic attacks on Western and Malian government targets continue.

In two separate incidents earlier this week, three UN peacekeepers were injured when their vehicles ran over mines.

“This violence is senseless. MINUSMA is paying too high a price in Mali when its peacekeepers are here to ensure the return to peace and stability,” said David Gressly, deputy special representative to the UN secretary general.

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