Bamako(Mali): Thirty-seven civilians were killed when armed men believed to be traditional Dogon hunters attacked a village of Fulani herders in central Mali Tuesday in the latest clash between the warring communities, the government said.
The attack on Koulogon village near Bankass in the Mopti region was carried out by "armed men dressed like traditional dozo hunters" allied to the Dogon ethnic group, said an official statement.
"In addition to the 37 recorded deaths, all civilians, the casualty toll includes several wounded and many burned homes", it added.
Earlier, a security source and a man who said he had witnessed the attack also blamed the Dogon, and put the number of dead at 33.
Allaye Yattara, a Fulani, told AFP: "Our village chief Moussa Diallo was killed in the attack along with old women, (and) a girl, all members of his family."
France helped Malian forces stave off an extremist insurgency that took control of large parts of the troubled north in 2012, but since the death in November of Fulani extremist figure Amadou Koufa, inter-group conflict has increased.
The violence is fuelled by accusations of Fulani grazing cattle on Dogon land and disputes over access to land and water.
The UN recorded more than 500 civilian deaths in the area in 2018.
In June, 24 members of the Fulani community were killed in an attack a UN probe blamed on the Dogon.