Bamako: At least 19 people were killed and another 22 were wounded in clashes between the army and Tuareg separatists, who since Wednesday have been trying to gain control of the city of Lere in the northwest of the country, a defence ministry statement said on Thursday.
According to the statement, nine of the dead were army soldiers and the rest were Tuareg fighters, while six members of the armed forces have been taken hostage.
Sixteen of the injured were soldiers and nine were rebels, while at least three regime vehicles were completely destroyed and stripped of weapons and ammunition during the clashes.
The statement indicated that the city was under government control and that reinforcements had arrived on Thursday morning in case of further attacks.
According to sources contacted by Efe, people have taken to the streets to celebrate the army's victory against the Tuareg.