Tragedy has struck in central Mali after a group of armed men attacked and killed over 100 people in a village.
According to Al Jazeera News, some local officials said it was one of the deadliest attacks in a country plagued by worsening ethnic violence and the rise of armed groups.
Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of the town of Bankass, said men dressed as traditional Donzo hunters encircled and attacked the nearby Fulani village of Ogossagou-Peul at around 4am (04:00 GMT) on Saturday.
“It’s a very heavy death toll,” he told Reuters news agency. “The village of Ogossagou is completely devastated,” the mayor said, adding that bodies were still being discovered.
“The body count continues by the gendarmes, who have just told me they have found 110 bodies, but the count continues,” he said.
Guindo said another nearby Fulani village, Welingara, had also been attacked, causing “a number” of deaths.
Abdoul Aziz Diallo, president of Tabital Pulaaku, a group representing ethnic Fulani, told The Associated Press news agency that the death toll in Ogossagou was 115.
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali confirmed reports of an attack but gave no figures, according to AP.
Donzo hunters are part of the Bambara, Mali’s largest ethnic group. The semi-nomadic Fulani people are dispersed throughout the Sahel and West Africa.
Saturday’s attack is believed to be the latest in a series of clashes between the communities of Donzo and Fulani – also known as Peul – that have left dozens dead in recent months.
In January, Donzo hunters were blamed for the killing of 37 people in a Fulani village.