At least 95 people were killed in an attack on an ethnic Dogon village in central Mali in the latest deadly violence to hit the restive region.
The government, in a statement said nineteen others were missing after unknown armed men attacked the village of Sobane-Kou, in the Mopti region, in the early hours of Monday,.
No immediate claim of responsibility was made but the massacre bore the hallmarks of tit-for-tat ethnic attacks that have claimed hundreds of lives.
It came less than three months after nearly 160 members of the Fulani ethnic group were killed by a group identified as Dogon.
“This country cannot be led by a cycle of revenge and vendetta,” Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita told reporters in Switzerland, where he cut short an official visit.
He called on Malians to come together to “allow our nation to survive, because this is a question of survival.”
The attackers also killed animals and burned down houses, the government statement said, adding an investigation was under way.
A Malian security source at the site of the massacre said: “A Dogon village has been virtually wiped out.”
A survivor who gave his name as Amadou Togo told the media that “about 50 heavily armed men arrived on motorbikes and pickups.”
“They first surrounded the village and then attacked – anyone who tried to escape was killed,” Togo said.
“Some people had their throats cut or were disembowelled, grain stores and cattle were torched. No one was spared – women, children, elderly people.”
Tensions have risen since an ethnic Dogon militia was accused of carrying out a massacre in an ethnic Fulani village in March.