Two Malian soldiers were killed in an ambush by suspected jihadists in the country's conflict-riven north, military sources said on Sunday.
"Two of our men were killed by terrorists on Saturday night in an attack on one of our checkpoints, 60 kilometres (37 miles) southwest of Gao," a military official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The word "terrorists" is regularly used to refer to Islamist militants, in a region struggling to battle a grinding jihadist insurgency.
Another military official said that two soldiers were killed and another was injured.
They were ambushed as they as moved between positions at the checkpoint, a security official said, also on condition of anonymity.
Since independence and jihadist rebellions broke out in the north in 2012, Mali has been embroiled in a complex conflict that has left thousands of civilians and fighters dead, despite the intervention of UN, African and French forces.
Some of the groups fighting for independence signed a peace deal in 2015, but the Sahel country is still targeted by attacks from groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.
The violence has also crossed the borders into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.