CNN —  

Militants attacked a sparsely manned U.N. police base in the Malian city of Timbuktu on Friday morning, sparking a fight in which Malian and U.N. peacekeeping forces eventually retook the center, a United Nations representative in the West African nation said.

An unknown number of militants started the assault by driving up to the base – a former hotel now used as an operating center for U.N. police officers – and detonating a vehicle at an entrance Friday morning, said Olivier Salgado, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Only several police officers were inside at the time, Salgado said. Malian and U.N. peacekeeping forces responded and eventually retook the base, he said early Friday afternoon.

“The operation against assailants in the camp premises ended. Search and sweep operations are ongoing,” Salgado said.

A police officer was injured in the explosion, Salgado said. Further information on casualties weren’t immediately available.

No claim of responsibility was immediately made.

Mali has been wracked by violence in recent years, including an insurgency by Islamist and ethnic Tuareg groups that prompted French forces to intervene in the country in 2013. The United Nations established its peacekeeping mission in Mali that year.

CNN’s Radina Gigova contributed to this report.