Suspected Islamic State-affiliated militants killed 42 Malian soldiers and four civilians in an attack near the town of Tessit on Sunday, the Malian army has confirmed.
Nine soldiers were also reported missing and vehicles and equipment were destroyed, it said in a statement, adding that it suspected a West African Islamic State affiliate was behind the attack.
"On 07 August 2022 around 15h00, the army units of Tessit...responded vigorously to a complex and coordinated attack by armed terrorist groups, presumably from ISGS (Islamic State in the Greater Sahara) and benefiting from drone and artillery support," the statement said.
Mali is facing a worsening insurgency by Islamist armed groups, some linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, which has expanded to its neighbours Burkina Faso and Niger.
The army said it killed at least seven on the enemy side.