BAMAKO (Reuters) - Three were killed after their patrol vehicle hit a landmine on Monday in a forest in central Mali, Defence Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly said.
Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group al-Mourabitoun on Monday claimed responsibility for a hotel siege in central Mali at the weekend in which 17 people died.
“Today again, you lost three brothers in arms to a land mine explosion,” Coulibaly told Malian soldiers in Sevare, where he was visiting following the weekend attack.
The blast took place a forest near the town of Diafarabe about 600 km (372) northeast of the capital in the Mopti region, killing three soldiers and wounding three others.
“The soldiers were informed by villagers of the presence of armed men near a village and the soldiers went over to investigate,” Souleymane Dembele, a Malian defence spokesman said.
Mali’s northern region has seen a resurgence of a number of attacks by armed groups as well as Islamist militants who briefly held the area until they were scattered by a French military intervention in 2013.
Malian authorities also blame a new armed group called the Massina Liberation Front for the growing number of attacks in the central Mopti region.