Bamako (AFP) - Five soldiers were killed Friday and four others wounded in northern Mali when their vehicles were hit by an explosion, authorities said.
"Two vehicles from the Malian armed forces were blown up by an improvised explosive device causing the death of five Malian soldiers and wounding four others," an army statement said.
The government pledged in the statement that "everything will be done to locate and bring those responsible to justice" for the attack between the localities of Ansongo and Indelimane.
Mali's vast, desolate north fell under the control of the Tuareg-led rebels who allied with jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in 2012.
The Islamists were largely ousted by an ongoing French-led military operation launched in January 2013, although they have since launched sporadic attacks on security forces from desert hideouts.
However, rival armed factions and smuggling networks mean the region has struggled for stability since the west African nation gained independence in 1960.