Mali has been battling a long-running insurgency. / Photo: AA

Several Malian soldiers died on Wednesday in a large-scale attack by suspected militants on a military outpost in the west of the West African nation.

"More than 100 militants attacked an army position at Kwala," said an elected representative of the nearby town of Mourdiah, 300 kilometres (180 miles) north of the capital Bamako.

"Several soldiers were killed, the militants took over the place before leaving without a problem," he said, asking to remain anonymous.

A local political official confirmed to AFP the same version of events, adding that the army "camp was first hit with a car bomb".

Heavy gunfire

A second elected official said there had been a lot of gunfire and government troops returned to the base after the militants left.

The army reported the assault in a statement, making no mention of casualties in its ranks and claiming to have "found and destroyed" a large number of "terrorists".

AFP was unable to verify the claims from the various sources in the remote zone.

Mali's military junta pushed out a French troops in 2022 amid deteriorating relations following military coups in 2020 and 2021.

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