"I heard gunfire coming from the camp and I saw people running out of the site, " said Modibo Diarra, who lives nearby. "Malian forces are responding" to the attack at Le Campement Kangaba, the agency tweeted, warning US citizens to avoid the area. It was not immediately clear what was burning, although extremists in other attacks have set cars ablaze. Two deaths had been previously confirmed, one of them identified as French-Gabonese.
Moussa Ag Infahi, director of the national police, told the AP that three of the assailants had been killed while a fourth escaped.
The security situation in Mali has been on a steady decline since 2013, after French forces pushed back armed Toeareg rebels and other extremists, who managed to capture large parts of the country in 2012.
The victims were one Malian soldier and five foreigners, but it is not known yet whether the they were civilians or foreign troops, a police official told Efe news. He was followed by "two or three others in a auto", the witness said.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and another militant group claimed responsibility for an attack on a Bamako hotel in late 2015 in which 20 people were killed.
"Sunday's violence came about a week after the State Department warned US citizens of "possible future attacks" on locations in Bamako that Westerners frequent".
"During their exchange, he conveyed France's full support to Mali's president during this ordeal", said Macron's office.
Mali has been in a state of emergency nearly continuously since the attack against a five-star hotel in the capital on November 20th, 2015, which left 22 people dead. The UN deployed more than 13,000 military personnel and says its mission in Mali has the highest fatality rate of all UN operations worldwide.
But there are wide areas of the country which are not under the control of Malian or global troops.
The US embassy had recently issued a warning earlier this month about a suspected terror attack on westerners. While the militants were officially ousted, they have continued to launch regular attacks on United Nations peacekeeping and Malian military sites.