Gunmen kill at least 14 Mali soldiers in attack: Army sources

BAMAKO: Unidentified gunmen killed at least 14 soldiers in central Mali, an area targeted by a growing wave of attacks by Islamist militants, when they overran a military camp early on Saturday, two army officers said.

The camp in the town of Soumpi, near the southern boundary of Mali's Timbuktu region, came under attack at around 6 am (0600 GMT).

"The provisional toll is 14 dead, 17 wounded and two enemies killed. The search is still on for those missing," one of the sources said.

The second source said "around 15" soldiers had been killed.

"The soldiers abandonned their position. The enemy carried away material," he said.

Both sources asked not to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Violence by militant groups, some with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, is on the rise in West Africa's arid Sahel region. In Mali, attacks have grown more frequent and spread further south towards the capital, Bamako.