One peacekeeper died and eight were seriously injured in an attack in jihadist-hit northern Mali on Friday, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country said.

MINUSMA said on Twitter that a "complex attack" involving an improvised explosive device and direct fire targeted a patrol near the town of Ber, in the Timbuktu region.

The victims were from a contingent from neighbouring Burkina Faso, the mission said.

MINUSMA chief El-Ghassim Wane said he firmly condemned "this cowardly act against our patrol".

"This tragic loss is a stark reminder of the risks that our peacekeepers face while working tirelessly to bring stability and peace to the people of Mali."

Former colonial power France, which maintained a significant anti-jihadist force in the country until last year, condemned the attack and obstacles to MINUSMA's freedom of movement.

"The perpetrators of this attack must be identified and answer for their acts," said a foreign ministry statement.

Mali has been grappling with a political and security crisis since 2012 when separatist and jihadist rebellions broke out in the north, later spreading to neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Rebels affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group claim responsibility for many attacks, but self-proclaimed defence groups and bandits also contribute to the violence in the region.

MINUSMA is a common target for jihadists as an international force and symbol of state authority with around 12,000 soldiers deployed in Mali.

Since its creation in 2013, 186 of its members have died in hostile circumstances.

Anger at the government's failure to beat back the insurgents fuelled a coup in 2020 that brought the country's ruling military junta to power.

But large swathes of the vast West African nation remain outside state control and attacks on national and international security forces continue.