Death toll at least 19 after rebels, soldiers clash in northern Mali, government says

The death toll is mounting in Mali following another day of clashes between Malian soldiers and Tuareg separatist rebels.

Mali's government said the violence has left nine soldiers dead along with at least 10 rebels.

Residents said separatist fighters attacked another town Thursday located between the city Timbuktu and the town Lere, 60 kilometers (37.28 miles) east of the Mauritanian border. Meanwhile, other violence was reported near the city Gao.

Clashes in the village Bintagoungou were also confirmed by members of the coalition of Tuareg separatist groups who have stepped up their attacks in April even as the date to sign a peace agreement with the government approaches.

The parties are due to sign the accord on May 15 but that has been called into question by the recent violence.