At least 16 soldiers have been killed in a raid on an army camp in central Mali‘s Mopti region, two local councillors in the area where the attack happened said.

The base is in the village of Dioura, the mayor of the nearest town Kareri, Youssouf Coulibaly, told Reuters by telephone from inside the base on Sunday. 

“I’m currently inside the base and there were many deaths here. We have counted 16 so far,” Coulibalysaid. Army spokesman Colonel Diarran Kone confirmed the attack but gave no further details.

A second military source told AFP that the troops had tried to fight off the attackers. 

“Our men responded … We don’t have an exact toll yet but there is a lot of damage,” he said.

A foreign security source said efforts were under way to determine how many people had died.

Central Mali has in the past few years been overrun by fighters with links to al-Qaeda.