Six soldiers were killed and 20 injured in simultaneous attacks targeting three army bases in central Mali Sunday, the Malian army said. Targets in Sevare, Niono and Bapho were all hit by “armed terrorist groups (who) used suicide vehicles packed with explosives”, the army said in a statement. A group linked to the firebrand preacher Amadou Koufa claimed the attacks, according to audio sent to AFP Sunday from a source close to the suspected attackers. The group, Katiba of Macina, belongs to the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), an Al-Qaeda-linked alliance and the biggest jihadist network in the Sahel. “On Sunday morning, the mujahideen of the Katiba of Macina struck three camps of the (Malian armed forces),” a member of the group told AFP in an audio message. The source said Bapho and Niono were hit, in line with information from Mali’s army. It also said Segou was attacked, which was not among the targets mentioned by the Malian army. “We hit these camps at the same time within five minutes of each other. (Apart from the) deaths, we caused material damage to them,” the audio recording said. Military sources earlier told AFP the attacks occurred at 0500 GMT in Sevare, Niono and Bapho, all in the centre of the country. The Malian army said six soldiers died and 15 were injured in Sevare, while 11 attackers including the suicide vehicle driver were killed. Another soldier was injured in Bapho and a further four in Niono. “The situation is under control. The FAMa (Malian armed forces) are combing through the target sectors and security measures are being reinforced in all rights of way,” it said in its statement. In Sevare, “there was a double terrorist attack with shots fired and machinery exploded. The army retaliated,” one of the military sources said. “We have asked MINUSMA (the UN Mission in Mali), as part of our collaboration, to send a rapid intervention force near the Sevare camp to help secure it,” the source continued. A separate military source within MINUSMA confirmed the information.