About a dozen military vehicles were ambushed on Sunday at Bouka Were, around 60 miles from the border with Mauritania, the army said. Unnamed Malian military sources confirmed that the ambush on the military convoy in central Mali left 24 soldiers dead and a number missing. Jihadists aligned with al-Qaeda perpetrated the attack

According to reports by local media, there were 64 soldiers in the convoy. The army confirmed that 20 were dead and eight were later rescued, but that only 20 of the troops were present for duty after the fighting took place. The source stated that a search was underway to find the remainder of the troops. 

Those numbers were confirmed later on Monday when Colonel Diarran Kone, a Malian army spokesman told Reuters news that,  “Twenty-four Mali army personnel died, eight survivors have been found.”

This is the latest in a string of jihadist attacks. Mali and its neighboring countries in the Sahel region have been plagued by violent jihadism for the past eight years. Islamic jihadists began a revolt in northern Mali in 2012, which has since spread to Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, and Mauritania despite the presence of thousands of French and U.N. troops.