Three Chinese construction workers and two Mauritanian workers were kidnapped on Saturday when their construction site in northern Mali came under attack by gunmen.
The hostages worked for Chinese construction firm Covec and Mauritanian road-building company ATTM.
The companies had been working at the site some 55 kilometres from the town of Kwala, protected by a private security company, reports Reuters.
As well as taking hostages, attackers stole five pick-up trucks and set the site on fire, destroying a crane, dump trucks and other equipment, the Malian army said, according to Reuters.
Insurgent violence by jihadist militants has displaced hundreds of thousands of people in the country, said Reuters.
Image: Â©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier