Over 130 Fulani villagers in two towns in Mali were killed on Saturday by gunmen.
It is the deadliest of attacks to hit central Mali, in a country still suffering from ethnic clashes.
The attack on the villagers took place in Ogossagou and Welingara towns, according to local officials.
Reuters quoted a mayor of a nearby town as saying that “We are provisionally at 134 bodies recovered by the gendarmes.”
Moulaye Guindo who is the mayor of the nearby town of Bankass told Reuters the armed men, dressed as traditional hunters before launching the attack.
Among those killed were pregnant women, children and elderly people.
Why the attack?
According to locals in the areas attacked, the gunmen were retaliating for a recent attack carried out by Jihadists.
That attack last week led to the death of some 23 soldiers.
Fulanis have been accused of carrying out deadly attacks against Mali’s army and militiamen.
The Fulanis have also in the past accused Mali’s army of arming hunters to attack them.
A U.N. Security Council mission team was already in Mali to investigate such attacks and prevent the spread across the Sahel region.
Several deaths have been recorded in Mali due to the continued dispute between ethnic groups, mainly the Funalis and hunters.
Usually the disagreements have been over land and water but they have left Mali in a state of insecurity for years.
Since 2012 Mali has been in turmoil after Tuareg rebels and militants took over north of the country.