Ten UN peacekeepers from Chad have been killed by gunmen in Mali.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned what he described as a "complex attack" on the UN peace mission's camp in Aguelhok, near Kidal.

An attack at the same base last April killed two peacekeepers and left several others wounded.

More than 13,000 peacekeepers are deployed in Mali as part of a UN mission that was established after Islamist militias seized northern Mali in 2012. They were pushed backed by French troops in 2013.

There are currently 20 Irish soldiers in the west African nation, as part of an EU mission training Malian soldiers.

Following a week-long visit to Africa earlier this month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Government is "actively considering" a proposal to send the Army Ranger Wing to Mali on peacekeeping duties. 

Speaking on the same trip the Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, said: "It is ten years since the ARW deployed overseas in an active mission. Obviously they provide protection for vital missions like this, but almost on an ad hoc basis.

"I think there are opportunities there, but once again it will be a political decision and a decision for Government."

The ARW has previously been deployed in East Timor, Liberia, and most recently in Chad.

Read more: Risk is real as Irish special forces to deploy to Mali