Almost 100 people have been killed in an attack in a village in central Mali inhabited by the Dogon ethnic group, officials say.
Youssouf Toloba, who leads the Dogon militia known as Dan Na Ambassagou, has denied that his fighters carried out the March bloodshed.
The attack on the village of Sobanou-Kou started Sunday evening when a group of armed men poured into the village, according to a statement from the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.
The first evidence coming from the village indicates the conflict was part of a longstanding ethnic grudge between the Dogon and the nomadic Fulani, as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reported Monday.
In an attack in March, gunmen killed more than 150 Fulani - making one of the bloodiest attacks in Mali's recent history.More news: Facebook suspends pre-installs of apps on new Huawei devices
Rivalries between Dogon and Fulani ethnic groups had led to massacres in the past.
Fulanis had "caused 63 deaths" among civilians in the Mopti region since that date, the United Nations added.
"It's a shock, a tragedy", MINUSMA chief Mahamat Saleh Annadif said of the latest bloodletting, noting that it came at a time "when we are discussing the renewal of the (MINUSMA) mandate".
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The unrest in central Mali has displaced some 60,000 people, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote, adding that he was "appalled" by the surge in violence and its effect on civilians.More news: Social media, former Spurs players react to Tony Parker's retirement
Amnesty International echoed the demand, saying the UN Security Council should renew MINUSMA's mandate. "This carnage" also left homes burned and animals killed, the statement said.
This tension has given rise to "ethnic self-defense groups", HRW says - and the groups have told the human rights organization that they "took security into their own hands because the government had failed to adequately protect their villages and property".
A peace agreement signed in 2015 by the Bamako government and armed groups aimed at restoring stability. Weeks later, the entire government resigned over its failure to disarm militias and beat back Islamist militants, who continue to stage attacks six years after France helped Malian forces stave off a jihadist insurgency in the country's restive north.
Koufa in March 2017 joined the newly-formed Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the leading jihadist alliance in the Sahel region, with links to Al-Qaeda.More news: Charles Merritt Convicted of McStay Family Murders