Mali’s military Monday said heavily armed men attacked their camp in central Mali on Sunday killing at least 23 soldiers.
The army said the attack, which happened the village of Dioura, is the deadliest against the army this year.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Mali’s army has blamed the attack on Ba Ag Moussa, a former colonel of the Malian army who deserted in 2012 to join the Tuareg rebellion before joining al-Qaida.
The attack comes at a time when debates are being held about integrating former rebels into the army as part of a peace agreement.
Many senior officers in Mali oppose the idea of integrating former rebels into the army.