BAMAKO, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Gunmen attacked Malian government forces in the northern desert town of Kidal on Sunday, a local official said, three days after Tuareg separatist rebels broke off a ceasefire with the newly elected government.
"We are under fire," said regional governor Adama Kamissoko in Kidal, a long-standing centre for the MNLA separatist rebels. "The armed group attacked and the army has responded."
A Kidal resident contacted by phone said gunmen had ambushed a group of government troops near a bank in the centre of town but the identity of the attackers was not immediately clear.
The fighting came amid an escalation in violence in northern Mali, where French troops are still stationed after chasing out Islamist rebels earlier this year.
On Friday, two Malian soldiers were wounded in Kidal after an unidentified man threw a grenade at them.
On Saturday, at least four people were killed and several wounded in a suicide car-bomb attack in the northern town of Timbuktu by suspected Islamist rebels.
That was the first suicide attack since new President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was sworn into office this month.
Keita won an August presidential runoff by a landslide with a pledge to reunite Mali after a Tuareg uprising triggered a military coup in March 2012 that plunged the country into chaos and allowed Islamists to seize the north. (Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Andrew Heavens)