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At Least 95 Killed in Mali Massacre

Mopti, Mali

VOA's Idriss Fall contributed to this report.

At least 95 people were killed Monday in central Mali when armed men attacked a village overnight, shooting people and setting homes on fire.

Mali Interior Security Ministry spokesman Amadou Sangho said at least 19 people are missing.

A reporter in the region told VOA's French-to-Africa Service the attack targeted the village of Sobanetou, near the central city of Mopti. He said the death toll may rise past 100.

Initial reports said the village, inhabited by the ethnic Dogon people, was likely attacked by ethnic Fulani fighters.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was outraged by the attack and called on all parties in Mali to "show restraint and to refrain from retaliatory acts," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

The U.N. Security Council is set to meet this month to discuss the possible renewal of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Tensions have existed for years between Dogon farmers and Fulani herders.

On March 23, about 160 Fulanis were killed when armed men attacked the village of Ogossagou in the same region. Dogon hunters were accused in that attack.

The hunters have "become paramilitary groups,'' arguing that they need to defend their communities if Malian security forces cannot, Jean-Herve Jezequel with the International Crisis Group wrote in a report after the March massacre.

"The availability of weapons of war and the pretext of fighting jihadist groups have opened the floodgates to a level of ethnic-based violence that is without precedent in the region,'' he said.