At least 14 killed in attack on Mali villages
At least 14 people were killed in an attack on two ethnic Dogon villages in centre of Mali, local officials said Tuesday, in the latest in a cycle of violence in the fragile Sahel country.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for Monday's attack but Mali has seen a spate of massacres this year between ethnic Dogon and Fulani communities.
The attacks on Ganfafani and Yoro villages near the border with Burkina Faso left "14 people dead according to a provisional toll", said local judicial official Boubacar Sidiki Samake.
A Mali military source said as many as 40 people may have been killed.
Goundjou Poudiougou, a local community official, said around a dozen bodies had been counted in both villages.
"They are terrorists because they killed and then disembowelled some bodies and burned crops," Poudiougou said.
Earlier this month, a massacre on another Dogon village, Sobane Da, killed 35 people, stirring fears of tit-for-tat attacks in a region with an ethnic patchwork.
"This time is the same as Sobane Da: People and animals targetted," said Adama Dionko, a spokesman for the Mali's Dogon association.
"We demand the state give us more security."
Cycle of violence
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has appealed for an end to the revenge violence after he visited the site of the Sobane Da massacre.
But despite military help from France and the UN, Mali's government is struggling to calm violence that began in the north of the country in 2012, sparked by radical Islamist and Tuareg militias.
Earlier this year, in the bloodiest raid, 160 Fulani were killed in an attack on a village by suspected militiamen from a rival ethnic group.
Ethnic violence in central Mali surged after a predominantly Fulani jihadist group led by preacher Amadou Koufa emerged in 2015.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, said in May it had recorded nearly 500 deaths in attacks on Fulanis in the central regions of Mopti and Segou since January 2018.
Armed Fulanis caused 63 deaths among civilians in the Mopti region over the same period, it said.
The Fulani are primarily cattle breeders and traders, while the Bambara and Dogon ethic groups are traditionally sedentary farmers.
Unrest in the volatile central region coincides with an ongoing jihadist campaign that the Mali government is struggling to contain.