BAMAKO (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed two Chadian troops from the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali and injured six others in an attack on a checkpoint at the entry to the northern town of Tessalit on Wednesday, a U.N. spokesman said.
No group has claimed the attack. Al Qaeda-linked Islamists, who occupied northern Mali last year, have carried out a number of suicide attacks on northern towns in recent months since they were scattered by a French offensive launched in January.
Olivier Salgado, spokesman for the U.N. mission that is deploying in Mali to take over security responsibilities from French troops, said a bomber drove an explosive-laden vehicle up to the checkpoint before blowing himself up.
"The provisional toll is 2 dead and six injured," Salgado said, noting that could change.
Cheick Fantamady Bouare, the local prefect, said four people had been killed in total, including a child.
The United Nations appealed earlier this month for more troops and helicopters for the Mali mission, which is operating at half its authorised strength of 12,600 and has seen already seen some Nigerian troops withdraw.
Reporting by Adama Diarra and Tiemoko Diallo; Writing and additional reporting by David Lewis; Editing by Daniel Flynn