A spokeswoman says more than three dozen U.N. peacekeepers have deserted their post in northern Mali, complaining that supplies including food and water were slow to reach them.

Radhia Achooru says 38 Chadian soldiers left their camp on Tuesday and a delegation from the peacekeeping force met with them Thursday to hear their grievances. The troops are stationed in Ageul'hoc, where peacekeepers have been repeatedly targeted in recent months.

Achooru said that the delegation acknowledged that provisions have been slow to arrive because of insecurity in the region. She said the troops have now agreed to return to their post.

U.N. troops are trying to stabilize Mali's north after a French-led offensive last year scattered al-Qaida-linked extremists who took control of the area.