April 15, 2015 / 3:23 PM / 2 years ago

At least three killed, peacekeepers injured in Mali suicide attack: U.N.

BAMAKO (Reuters) - At least three civilians were killed and nine United Nations peacekeepers seriously injured in a suicide attack on Wednesday at a U.N. base in town of Ansongo in northern Mali, a spokesman for the peacekeeping mission said.

"A vehicle tried to penetrate the camp and there was an explosion," Olivier Salgado told Reuters by telephone from the capital Bamako. He said the casualty figure was provisional as the wounded were still being evacuated.

A Niger security official in Niamey said several Nigerien soldiers taking part in the U.N. mission were wounded in the attack.

Mali army spokesman Diarran Kone said the suicide bomber tried to force his way into the camp but was shot. However, his bomb-ladened vehicle exploded.

The United Nations has deployed some 10,000 personnel in Mali to help stabilize the Sahel nation, which was overran by al Qaeda-linked Islamists in 2012.

The militants were driven out by a French-led intervention in 2013 but there remain pockets of insurgents who have launched numerous attacks on U.N., French and Malian forces as well as civilians.

Reporting by Bate Felix, Abdoulaye Massalaki in Niamey and Tiemoko Diallo in Bamako; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Daniel Flynn

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