A Malian army spokesman says a lone soldier was to blame for the killing of 16 Islamic preachers at a military checkpoint.
Spokesman Idrissa Traore said on Monday the army is not responsible for the killings.
"It's not the Malian army," said Traore. "It was one soldier. He was captured and the investigation continues."
The preachers -- eight from Mali, eight from Mauritania -- were killed late Saturday in the central Malian town of Diabaly while traveling to a conference in the capital, Bamako.
Mali's government acknowledged the shooting in a statement Monday but stopped short of saying its soldiers were responsible.
Mauritania's government called the killing a "barbaric slaughter" and demanded a full investigation.
Initial reports indicated soldiers opened fire after the group defied order to stop.
Traore said he does not think the killings will affect the army's effort to recapture northern Mali, which is under the control of Islamist militant groups.
The West African bloc ECOWAS has offered to send 3,000 troops to Mali to help stabilize the country and retake the north.
Mali's army lost control of the north to Tuareg separatists and Islamist militants in April, after renegade soldiers overthrew the government in Bamako. The militant groups seized full control of the north in June.