President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Thursday appealed for an end to tit-for-tat ethnic violence as he visited the site of a massacre in Mali's powder-keg central region that left dozens dead.
"I ask you not to turn to acts of revenge," Keita said in a visit to the village of Sobane Da which according to the official toll left 35 dead, 24 of them children.
The attack late Sunday targeted the predominantly Catholic village of Sobane Da, in an ethnic Dogon enclave in the diverse Mopti region.
It has sparked fears of another turn in a cycle of violence that has shaken the impoverished Sahel state.
The government had given a provisional figure of 95 dead and 19 missing, but this was revised downwards after early confusion.
The raid came less than three months after about 160 villagers from the Fulani ethnic group were slaughtered on March 23 at Ogossagou, near the border with Burkina Faso, by suspected Dogon hunters.
Keita arrived aboard a UN peacekeepers' helicopter, flanked by the archbishop of Bamako, Cardinal Jean Zerbo, and ranking government members, including the defence minister.
A senior officer present at the visit said Keita and Zerba immediately headed to mass graves where the dead were buried. There, the archbishop "prayed for the murdered Catholic brothers".
Keita, meeting local people, vowed to "take every measure to ensure security," the source said.
He said that motorbikes -- used along with pickup trucks by the assailants -- would be banned in several local areas, a measure that is already in force elsewhere in central Mali.
In another incident Wednesday, an attack on villages of the Dogon ethnic group in the south of country claimed at least two lives, with several others wounded, a local official and a Malian security source said.
Within hours, the government sacked the governor of Mopti region, General Sidi Alassane Toure.
Despite military help from France and the UN, Mali's government is struggling to quell violence that began in the north of the country in 2012, sparked by radical Islamist and Tuareg militias.
Attacks spread to central Mali, an ethnic mosaic, after a predominantly Fulani jihadist group led by preacher Amadou Koufa emerged in 2015.
At the United Nations Security Council In New York, Foreign Minister Tiebile Drame on Wednesday called for an "increased presence" by the UN force MINUSMA, "to help protect civilian populations and their property, to end a cycle of violence to enable the return of government and basic social services".
"This increased presence is the precondition for the success of the political process which we will undertake in the coming days," he said, without giving details.
The Security Council is debating whether to renew MINUSMA's mandate, which expires at the end of this month.
It currently has about 14,700 troops and police deployed in Mali, which ranks as the most dangerous UN mission, with 125 peacekeepers killed in attacks since deployment in 2013.