At least 31 people were killed in an attack on a village that last year saw Mali’s worst civilian massacre in recent memory, government said.
A government statement did not say who carried out the attack on Ogossagou, a village of Fulani herders in central Mali.
“They came and shot everything that moved,” said Hamadou Dicko from Fulani association Tabital Pulaaku.
In the attack on Ogossagou last March, suspected militiamen from a rival group killed more than 150 civilians, part of spiralling ethnic and jihadi violence in West Africa’s vast Sahel region.
Moulaye Guindo, mayor of nearby Bankass and another local official, who declined to be named, said the latest attack came less than 24 hours after Malian troops stationed near Ogossagou left their base.
An army spokesman said soldiers were deployed to respond to the attack but did not give details.
Central Malian residents criticise the army for failing to protect them against violence that has displaced 200,000 people and left communities with no local government or means of defence.
They turn to self-defence militias for protection against jihadists and rival ethnic groups though these also use their weapons to settle scores.
Malian officials suspect Dan Na Ambassagou, an anti-jihadi, ethnic Dogon group of carrying out last year’s massacre in Ogossagou. The group denies responsibility.