Two Malian soldiers killed in ambush

BAMAKO (AFP) – Armed “terrorists” killed two Malian soldiers and wounded five others during an ambush in the conflict-ridden central part of the west African nation, the army said on Wednesday.

The soldiers were escorting a vehicle transporting bank funds on Tuesday when a “group of armed terrorists”, a reference to extremists, ambushed them in Batouma forest, the army said in a statement.

The soldiers “offered fierce resistance and were able to withdraw from the area with the vehicle transporting” employees of the bank, it added.

Mali is struggling with an extremists insurgency that first erupted in the north but has since spread to the centre of the country and spilled over into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

French military forces have around 5,000 troops in the Sahel as part of their anti-extremists Operation Barkane, and thousands United Nations (UN) peacekeepers are also operating in Mali