World Bulletin / News Desk
An explosives-loaded car was driven to the camp of the Operational Coordination Mechanism (MOC) in Gao at 9 a.m. local time (0900GMT), the official said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Around 60 people were injured, the official added, without giving any detail on the suspected identity of the victims or the perpetrator.
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita declared a three-day period of national mourning.
The official said the attack was “well planned” to hit troops as they gathered to report on overnight patrols and plan the day’s activities.
Residents said that there was a “panic in Gao” and that power supplies had been cut.
No group claimed immediate responsibility for the attack but al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed responsibility for similar attacks in the past.
Despite the presence of French and UN peacekeeping forces in Mali, insurgents are still very active, especially in the northern part of the country. Militants captured northern Mali in 2012.