BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A suicide bombing by Islamic militants has killed at least three Chad soldiers and injured civilians at a market, officials and a humanitarian worker said Friday.
Lalla Maiga, a humanitarian worker in Kidal, said that two suicide bombers were also killed in the attack.
She said the suicide bombers targeted the Chad soldiers in a market in Kidal. "One succeeded in detonating his explosives belt, but the other was neutralized before he could explode his," she said. "There were three dead among the Chad soldiers and a lot of injured civilians, two of which are my colleagues."
An official statement from Chad's government on Friday confirmed the attack and said four of its soldiers were also injured, along with the three dead. It also said that the bodies will be sent back to Chad.
Kidal's deputy mayor Abda Ag Kazina, said Friday that the death toll may rise.
There have been several suicide bombing attacks in Kidal since the French forces entered Mali in January and pushed al-Qaida-linked militants further north toward the mountains. Chad soldiers are helping back French troops in the mountains of the north Kidal region where elements of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and other militants are now hiding out.
It was not yet known what militant group staged Friday's suicide attack.
In February, a suicide bomber exploded a vehicle in Kidal, killing six government allies. Earlier that month, a suicide car bombing killed at least one secular Tuareg rebel from the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad, or NMLA, near the country's border with Algeria.
The jihadist group MUJAO or Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, also claimed responsibility for another car explosion that week at a mechanics garage in Kidal about 800 meters (875 yards) from a French military base.
Soldiers from Chad and a few other African countries have joined the French-led operation to help Mali's weak military push back the Islamic extremists who had imposed harsh rule on northern Mali. The militants had started moving south toward the capital, Bamako, before the French-led intervention in January pushed the Islamic radicals out of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal.