Blast kills 3 soldiers in central Mali

Three Malian soldiers were killed in a restive central region overnight when their vehicle hit a landmine, sources said on Thursday.

The blast happened on the road between Djoungani and Koro, near the frontier with Burkina Faso, a Malian military source said.

"There were three fatalities and four other soldiers were wounded," the source said, adding that reinforcements had been sent to the area.

A local official confirmed the toll and described the blast as "the work of terrorists," a term typically used to refer to Islamist militants.

Mali has been plagued by violence since 2012, when Tuareg separatists staged an uprising in the north, which was then exploited by jihadists to take over key cities in the region.

The militants were largely driven out in a French-led military operation in 2013.

But despite a 2015 peace agreement between the government, pro-government groups and former rebels, large stretches of Mali remain out of control.

In a report in September, the UN said it had recorded 42 attacks by improvised explosive devices over the previous three months. More than a third of these occurred in central Mali.

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