Scores of people were killed in Gao, northern Mali, after a truck loaded with explosives detonated on Wednesday at a military camp.
The government has subsequently declared a three day mourning period with the Defense Minister, Abdoulaye Maiga, dispatched to the site of the attack.
The provisional casualty figure presented by the Army was 25 even though the United Nations Mission (MINUSMA) has put the figure at thirty three, according to Reuters.
MALI | Attentat-sucide de Gao, le Ministre de La Défense, Abdoulaye I. MAÏGA, à la tête d'une délégation se rend à Gao.— Presidence Mali (@PresidenceMali) January 18, 2017
The military camp was housing government soldiers and members of various armed rebel groups who together conducted joint patrols as part of a UN brokered peace deal aimed at fighting insurgents in the restive desert north of the country.
France mourns ‘‘major and highly symbolic attack’‘
In reaction to the attack on the camp, France’s Interior Minister, Bruno Le Roux, has described the attack as ‘‘major and highly symbolic attack.’‘ The French President Francois Hollande recently visited the area during the France-Africa summit that took place in Bamako.
French troops have been in Mali since 2013 upon the request of the government. The troops are mainly tasked with preventing an advance of insurgents on the Malian capital Bamako.
Last year, the UN Security Council unanimously announced the extension of the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Mali. The force by the extension is supposed to remain in the west African country till later this year.
The Council also announced an increase by 2500 peacekeepers to the existing figure, tasking the mission to be more proactive and robust in the face of combat by the insurgents particularly in the north of the country.