At least 47 people including five suicide bombers were killed when a vehicle packed with explosives detonated inside a military camp in the northern Mali city of Gao on Wednesday, the government said.
A Reuters reporter who arrived at the camp soon after the blast, which occurred at about 9am (0900 GMT), said he saw dozens of bodies lying on the ground alongside the wounded.
Ambulances rushed to the scene as helicopters circled overhead.
“It’s terrible,” Gao resident Kader Touré said. “The attack happened while they were having an assembly. I’ve just left the hospital where there were bodies ripped to pieces and bodies piled up.”
The camp was home to government soldiers and members of various rival armed groups which jointly patrol Mali’s restive desert north in line with a UN-brokered peace accord.