BAMAKO (Reuters) - At least one U.N. peacekeeper was killed when suspected Islamist militants attacked a U.N. base in the northern Malian town of Kidal on Saturday, residents said.

Gunfire erupted from the area of the U.N. and French military camps in Kidal at around 0600 a.m. local time (0600 GMT), followed by the sound of rockets exploding, locals told Reuters. The shooting lasted around 10 minutes, they said.

Residents said at least two suicide bombers had attacked the base with car bombs, killing a Chadian peacekeeper and wounding five others.

A spokesperson for the U.N. mission in Mali (MINUSMA) confirmed the attack but said other details were not immediately available.

Mali is still recovering from a period of turmoil that began in 2012 when al Qaeda-linked fighters seized its desert north in the wake of a Tuareg uprising. A French-led military operation in early 2013 scattered them but Islamist fighters have intensified their attacks in recent months.

On Friday, gunmen believed to be linked to separatist groups attacked the central Mali town of Tenenkou, killing at least three people during an intense gun battle with members of the army, local and military sources said.

MINUSMA said it had seen armed groups heading toward the area on Friday, calling it a violation of the terms of an earlier ceasefire. Peace talks between Mali's government and separatist groups on the future of the restive north are due to resume soon in Algiers.

(Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Daniel Flynn and Andrew Heavens)