A Malian official says two people were killed when an explosive went off, apparently by accident, in the country's north.

Choguel Maiga, a government spokesman, said Tuesday that the explosive detonated while it was being manipulated, bringing down a house in the northern city of Gao on Monday. Malian and U.N. officials are now searching the house for more information.

Mali's north fell to al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists following a military coup in 2012. A French-led intervention in early 2013 scattered the extremists, but remnants of the group that controlled Gao before the intervention have since claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in the region around the city.

The north generally remains insecure, and U.N. peacekeepers are trying to stabilize it.