- Associated Press - Friday, March 1, 2019

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) - Authorities say nine soldiers serving with the regional G5 Sahel force have been killed in an attack in central Mali.

The Malian army said Friday that the nine died after driving over a roadside bomb in Boulkessy, located in the Mopti region of the West African country.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, though al-Qaida militants and other extremists are known to operate in the area.

The G5 Sahel Joint Force is made up of military from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

The G5 is designed to help the Sahel region better combat security threats from extremists though funding for the force has remained an obstacle.

Central Mali has become increasingly dangerous in recent years, far from the extremist strongholds in the north.

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