At least twenty Malian soldiers were killed in an attack on a military base in the northern town of Bamba early Monday morning, the military said in a statement.
According to a local government official, the attackers arrived at the base on motorcycles and in cars. The official said an investigation is ongoing and expressed fears that the death toll could be higher than the 20 announced deaths.
The country has been struggling to contain armed rebellion that first broke out in 2012 but has since spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Thousands of Malian soldiers and civilians have been killed in the conflict. French and United Nations troops have been deployed across the region to contain the conflict.