Rebels linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL have been active in parts of Mali and the Sahel for more than a decade now.
The chief of staff for Mali’s interim president, Oumar Traore, and three others have been killed in an ambush, the government said on Thursday.
The ambush took place in the rural area of Nara in Mali’s southwestern Koulikoro region, the statement said, without providing further detail on when the attack occurred or who was responsible for it.
A driver who was travelling with the delegation is still missing, it added.
Mali is one of several West African countries battling armed groups during the past decade.
Rebels linked to al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS) armed group have seized swaths of territory across the region, killed thousands and displaced millions. In January, fourteen Malian soldiers were killed and 11 wounded in two separate attacks in central Mali after their vehicles struck explosive devices.
Frustrations against the authorities’ failure to quell the violence have spurred two military takeovers in Mali since 2020.
In 2022, French troops completed a withdrawal from Mali as relations soured between both countries due to two coups and the perceived ineffectiveness of the foreign military in tackling rebel activity.
There have also been growing tensions between the UN mission and Mali’s military government following the alleged arrival of Wagner Group operatives from Russia to bolster government forces.