Five Malian soldiers killed in helicopter crash
A military helicopter crashed Friday in central Mali, killing five soldiers, Mali's defence ministry said, dpa reported.
"The Malian army helicopter crashed today ... about 50 kilometres south-west of Sevare," the ministry statement said. It added that all five soldiers on board, including a high-ranking officer, died.
The accident was seemingly caused by a technical failure, according to the ministry.
Earlier on Friday, three Chadian soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing in the northern Malian city of Kidal, a spokesman for the African support mission to the West African country said.
"It was a suicide bomber who detonated his belt killing three people and wounding one," Yao Aldjoumani told dpa over the phone.
According to an army source in Kidal, about 1,500 kilometres north-east of the capital Bamako, the attack took place at the city's market.
"(The Chad soldiers) were at the market for shopping," said Captain Daouda Diarra, adding: "I have been informed there were three dead and four wounded."
The attack comes as the French-led military intervention to flush out Islamist insurgents from northern Mali enters its fourth month.
Chad's 2,000-strong force is the largest African contingent in Mali. In February about a dozen Chadian soldiers were killed in heavy clashes in the mountain range near Kidal, where they were battling pockets of insurgents who had been ousted from the city the previous month.
The suicide attack in Kidal was the third since Operation Serval was launched on January 11. In February at least nine people were killed and several wounded in two attacks.
Suicide attacks have previously been unheard of in Mali but another Islamist stronghold, Gao, saw two suicide attacks earlier in February, and the historic city of Timbuktu also saw two suicide attacks in March.