Twenty-four soldiers have been killed in an attack by militants in eastern Mali, the country’s army has said.

Another 29 were also injured during a joint operation between troops from Mali and Niger in the Gao border region.

Mali’s army said 17 “terrorists” were killed and 100 suspects were being held in Tiloa, in Niger.

It comes weeks after 54 troops were killed in another attack in Mali – one of the deadliest in the past decade.

Details of Monday’s attack in Mali are unclear, and authorities have not identified what group the assailants belonged to.

On its Twitter account, the Malian army posted images several burned-out motorcycles, and said 70 were destroyed during the incident.

In a separate development, the French military said 24 suspected militants were killed in a two-week-long operation in Mali and Burkina Faso.

French soldiers carried out the operation with regional troops which make up the G5 Sahel counter-insurgency force.

A bomb-making workshop had also been destroyed, and weapons and ammunition seized, the G5 Sahel force said in a statement.

Mali has suffered violence since 2012 when Islamist militants exploited a Tuareg separatist uprising, seizing several key cities.

With help from France, its former European ruler, Malian forces regained control of territory lost to violent jihadists

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