Seventeen soldiers killed as gunmen attack military base in Mali

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Photo: Mali's President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in a security meeting with Prime Minister, Service Chiefs

An attack by gunmen on a military base in Mali has left 17 soldiers dead and 30 injured, officials say.

The heavily armed men overran the base, in the central town of Nampala, and set parts of it on fire.

Two separate groups have claimed responsibility for the attack.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita called a security meeting with the prime minister, defence minister and commanders of the armed forces after being made aware of the deaths.

There are a number of armed groups in Mali, encompassing ethnic and jihadist concerns.

A recently formed group said it attacked the base in response to the Malian army attacking the Fulani ethnic group.

The Islamist militant group Ansar Dine also claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last year, three different jihadist groups said they were behind a deadly attack on a hotel in the capital, Bamako.

In 2013, the French military intervened in the country at its government’s request, and UN peacekeepers have also been stationed there.

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