Twenty-eight United Nations peacekeepers have been wounded in an attack on their base in central Mali, a UN spokesperson said, in the latest violence to hit the country.

Unidentified militants attacked a temporary base near Kerena, a village in the war-torn centre of the country, at around 7am (local time).

Olivier Salgado, spokesman for the UN's MINUSMA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) mission in Mali, said the position was "targeted by direct and indirect fire."

First established in 2013, the 13,000-strong MINUSMA has suffered one of the highest death tolls of any mission in UN peacekeeping history.

Over 230 of its personnel have died since the mission began, and improvised explosive devices killed five peacekeepers last month alone.

The latest casualties were from a Togolese contingent of peacekeepers in Mali, according to the UN.

An official briefed on the attack, who requested anonymity, said that some of the peacekeepers were gravely wounded.

A municipal government official, who declined to be named, said that militants drove an explosives-laden vehicle into the camp before opening fire.

Mali has been struggling to contain a jihadist insurgency which first emerged in the north of the country in 2012, and has since spread to the centre of the country and to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands more have had to flee their homes.

Four peacekeepers were killed by a roadside bomb in northern Mali on 14 January, and one died the following day in a similar blast.