Two people were killed in a jihadist attack on a tourist resort outside the Malian capital, while special forces troops freed about 32 hostages seized by the gunmen, the country's security minister said.

Gunmen stormed Le Campement Kangaba in Dougourakoro, to the east of the capital Bamako, a resort foreign residents often visit for weekend breaks.

"It is a jihadist attack. Malian special forces intervened and about 20 hostages have been released," Salif Traore said earlier this evening.

That figure has since been updated to 32.

"Unfortunately for the moment there are two dead, including a Franco-Gabonese," said Mr Traore.

Security has gradually worsened in Mali since French forces pushed back allied Islamist and Tuareg rebel fighters in 2013 from swathes of the north they had occupied the previous year.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and another militant group claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel in Mali's capital in late 2015 in which 20 people were killed.

French troops and a 10,000-strong UN peacekeeping force have battled to stabilise the former French colony and strikes on Malian and Western targets have spread further south and far beyond traditional militant strongholds.