The main courthouse in the northern Mali city of Gao went ablaze following clashes between Malian troops and Islamist rebels, Agence France-Presse reported Thursday.
Troops were battling “a group of around 40 insurgents” after fighting broke out overnight, Radio France International reported, citing a military source.
At least three rebels had been killed, according to the RFI report.
"Our forces are currently confronting the jihadists near the Gao townhouse. They have infiltrated the city and we are currently retaliating," Amadou Diarra, a Malian army captain.
A Reuters reporter in Gao said Malian troops opened fire on the mayor's office where suspected Islamist gunmen were hiding.
French and Malian troops drove out Al Qaeda-linked Islamists from Gao, northern Mali's biggest city, last month within two weeks of France's intervention in the former colony and have been patrolling the city ever since.
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