BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Armed men staged an attack on an army post in a northern Mali village early Monday, killing at least 10 soldiers, a resident said.
The attackers came on motorcycles into Gourma-Rharouss, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of the northern city of Timbuktu, resident Moussa Cisse said.
"They killed 10 soldiers, including a lieutenant. They burned two Malian army vehicles before leaving the village," he said.
A soldier said the men cried out "Allahu akbar," the Arabic phrase for "God is great," as they left. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't permitted to speak to the media.
Defense Ministry adviser Lt. Col. Diarran Kone confirmed the attack without giving a death toll.
Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb reportedly claimed to have killed nine Malian soldiers in the attack, according to Mauritanian news agency Al-Akhbar, SITE Intelligence Group said.
The news agency reported in an article posted on its website Monday that it received a phone call from an AQIM spokesman claiming an attack in a village southwest of Timbuktu, the group said.
The attack comes two days after two Malian soldiers were killed and five were injured in the south during an ambush on their convoy. The ambush occurred roughly 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital, Bamako.
Attacks by Islamic extremists have moved into Mali's south this year.
Mali's north fell under the control of Islamic extremists following a military coup in 2012. A French-led military intervention in 2013 scattered the extremists, though the region remains insecure despite the presence of U.N. peacekeepers.
Mali's government signed a peace deal with Tuareg separatist rebels earlier this year.