According to officials in Mali, at least 26 people have been killed and a village burned in the volatile Mopti region in central Mali on Friday.
Aly Barry, an official from Tabital Pulaaku, a Fulani association said the attack targeted the Fulani village Binedama. Two other local officials confirmed the attack and death toll adding that the village was torched, and its chief killed.
A local government official in Koro, a subdivision of the Mopti region, confirmed the attack on Binedama occurred on Friday afternoon.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity he also said two women and a nine-year-old girl were among those killed.
Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of the commune of Bankass said between 20 and 30 people were killed by men in military attire. The Bankass commune neighbours the commune to which Binedama belongs.
The attack on Binedama comes at a time of mounting insecurity in Mali. There is also rising popular discontent with the government and increasing reports of abuses committed by the country’s armed forces.
As is common with attacks in conflict-riven and remote Sahel region, it is not immediately clear who the perpetrators are. No group has yet claimed responsibility.
Mali, a nation of some 19 million people, has been in the grips of a rebellion since 2012. This was when hardliner fighters seized an initially separatist rebellion by ethnic Tuaregs in the north.
The conflict – which has killed thousands of soldiers and civilians to date – has since spread to central Mali. It has also spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso as well Niger.
The ethnic mosaic of central Mali has become a flashpoint. Fighters regularly attack military targets in the region, where fighting has inflamed ethnic tensions.