At least 50 Al-Qaeda-linked rebel fighters have been killed in recent days in clashes with French and Malian troops near the town of Gao in northern Mali, a Malian military source told AFP on Sunday.
"Fighting continues on Sunday morning some 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Gao between Islamists and Malian troops supported by the French army. We have the situation under control," said a Malian military source contacted by phone from the capital Bamako.
"At least 50 MUJAO Islamists have been killed since the day before yesterday (Friday)," he added, referring to rebels from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa.
Gao, the largest city in northern Mali, was under the control of MUJAO before it was driven from there by the French-backed international offensive that was launched on January 11.
A Malian soldier who had taken part in the fighting on Friday evening near Gao had told AFP on Saturday that the Malian army had destroyed a MUJAO base.
He said the group suffered heavy losses during the fighting which took place in In-Manas, 60 kilometres east of Gao.