Two French soldiers with the anti-jihadist Barkhane force in Mali were killed Saturday when their armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, the French presidency said.
A third soldier was wounded in the explosion in the Tessalit province of the northeastern region of Kidal, a statement said.
Earlier, at least 10 Malian soldiers were killed in an overnight ambush in a central region near the Mauritanian border where armed jihadist groups are rampant, security and local sources said Friday.
It is the third time Malian security forces have suffered heavy losses since the military took power in a coup on August 18.
Four Malian soldiers were killed and 12 others wounded on August 27 in a jihadist ambush near the central town of Mopti, before the army killed 20 enemy fighters, it said.
The army said it also suffered major equipment losses.
Four soldiers had been killed five days earlier when their vehicle was hit by a bomb.
According to an internal security ministry report seen by AFP, the 10 soldiers killed on Saturday including a senior officer, in the attack in Guire and four vehicles were torched.
An elected official from the Guire region confirmed the toll.
“In the night, shots prevented us from sleeping, it looked like bombs, our houses were shaking,” the official told AFP by phone.
A local administrator speaking on condition of anonymity said men on motorcycles had been in the area since Monday.
The troubled West African country was plunged into further crisis when a military junta ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, shocking Mali’s neighbours, which fear the fragile state already battling jihadism and an economic slump may slide into chaos.