Malian and French troops clashed overnight with Islamist insurgents in the central Mali town of Konna, AFP reported on Thursday (January 17th).
Fighting broke out Wednesday afternoon, marking the first ground combat since the launch of the French intervention six days earlier.
"Six Islamists were killed and we managed to seize eight vehicles and destroy some others," Captain Saliou Coulibaly told AFP.
An Islamist militant told AFP on condition of anonymity that the battle for control of the Konna area was "not finished".
Malian, French and African forces aim to oust Ansar al-Din and its al-Qaeda allies from northern Mali.