Sunday's assault by a group with suspected terror links on an army camp killed 23 soldiers, military sources said on Monday, raising an initial death toll of 21.
Vote counting begins in Mali presidential election after attacks disrupted polling in areas already beset by deadly ethnic and terror violence.
The ambush, which involved a car bomb explosion followed by gunfire, took place two days after militants killed at least six people during a raid on a military headquarters in central Mali.
Witnesses claim the incident, that took place in the town of Boulekessi near Mali's border with Burkina Faso, was due to military "blunders" and that "more than 15 civilians were killed," according to a former Malian minister.
Mostly young men were killed in two attacks in northern Menaka region, which seem calculated to spark an ethnic conflict between Tuareg and Fulani herders, governor Daouda Maiga says.
Despite deadly attacks, the country successfully went ahead and held municipal elections, hoping to help secure a peace deal with armed groups.
Mali arrests Mauritanian man suspected of planning and carrying out multiple deadly attacks on tourist venues last year
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