2 Malian troops killed, 3 wounded in ambush in north

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BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — At least two soldiers were killed in an ambush in Mali's north, an army official said Monday.

The troops were on their way to the town of Douekire on Sunday to provide security for a weekly market when attackers opened fire, said Col. Souleymane Maiga. In addition to the two killed, three more were wounded, he said.

No one immediately took responsibility for the attack, 30 miles (45 kilometers) west of the city of Timbuktu, but several armed groups operate in northern Mali.

Following a military coup in 2012, Mali's north fell under control of Tuareg separatists and then al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists. A French-led intervention in 2013 scattered the extremists. U.N. troops and the Malian army are now trying to stabilize the north.

But some al-Qaida-linked fighters remain active and have staged a growing number of attacks in recent months. In addition, Tuareg separatists have continued to rebel against the authority of the Bamako-based government, despite the start of peace talks.

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