mali bombing
Soldiers attend to wounded and casualties following a suicide bomb attack in Gao, northern Mali on January 18, 2017 (AFP Photo/)

By Concise News Correspondents 

Mali recorded its deadliest suicide bomb attack on Wednesday as militants killed at least 42 people with several others injured when they detonated an explosives-laden vehicle inside a military camp in the northern city of Gao.

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State media put the death toll at 47, including five suicide bombers, and army spokesman Diarran Kone said that 115 people were also wounded.

The attack was said to have struck at the heart of still fragile efforts by the government and rival armed groups to work together to quell the violence that has plagued the restive desert north for years.

The bombers reportedly forced their way into the camp shortly before 9 a.m. (0900 GMT). They ran over several people before blowing up the vehicle just as 600 soldiers were assembling. That was made known by Radhia Achouri, a spokeswoman Mali’s U.N. peacekeeping force MINUSMA.

According to a Reuters reporter,  the blast left dozens of bodies lying on the ground alongside the wounded as ambulances rushed to the camp and helicopters huddled overhead.

“I’ve just left the hospital where there were bodies ripped to pieces and wounded piled up,” said Gao resident Kader Toure.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has declared three days of national mourning.