Five employees of a Chinese-owned telecoms company have been kidnapped and killed in central Mali while laying fibre-optic cables, security and local officials have said.

The BBC reported on Monday that the bodies of the four Malians and one Togolese employee were found abandoned at a roadside on Saturday, following their abduction a day earlier near the town of Niafunke.

The motive for the attack is unclear. However, Islamist militants and criminal networks are operating in the area.

- African News Agency (ANA)