Mali's Ministry of Defense says at least 20 people have been killed in an attack on an army outpost in the country's remote north. The ministry says in a statement the attack occurred early Saturday in the town of Nampala, about 300 miles (500 kilometers) northeast of the capital, Bamako. The statement says the dead include nine security personnel and 11 attackers, and many others were wounded. The statement identifies the attackers as "an armed gang linked to drug traffickers." The language is government code for ethnic Tuareg rebels active in the Sahara Desert. The ATNMC, a Tuareg rebel group, claimed responsibility for the attack on their Web site. Rebel spokesman Hama Ag Sid'Ahmed says the attack is intended to force the government into dialogue.