Militants kill at least nine Mali soldiers

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At least nine soldiers have been killed and 11 injured in an ambush by militants in Mali, the West African country's armed forces say.

An army convoy was between the localities of Koro and Bandiagara, near the border with Burkina Faso, when it was attacked with improvised explosive devices followed by heavy fire on Wednesday morning a military statement said.

The army said its forces "reacted vigorously" to the assault, pursuing the attackers and carrying out a search in the air and on the ground.

According to the statement, 15 attackers were killed and 20 motorbikes retrieved while three army vehicles were destroyed.

Numerous armed groups are active in Mali and neighbouring states in the Sahel region - an area that stretches south of the Sahara from the Atlantic to the Red Sea.

Some have sworn allegiance to Islamic State, while others are linked to al-Qaeda.

Mali's south-eastern regions bordering Burkina Faso and Niger have become one of the world's terrorism hotspots.

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