The UN has reported over 130 people have been killed in an attack on a Fulani, also known as Peulh, village, Ogossagou in central Mali on Saturday.
Farhan Haq, a spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in a statement, "The Secretary-General is shocked and outraged by reports that at least 134 civilians, including women and children, have been killed”.
The attack occurred whilst a delegation from the UN Security Council visited the Sahel region to assess the security situation of the area. Haq stated that the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, provided air support to deter further attacks and assisted with the evacuation of those injured.
Witnesses reported to AFP news agency that attackers had burned down almost all the huts in the village.
Haq further called upon Malian authorities "to swiftly investigate it and bring the perpetrators to justice”. This call has been echoed by human rights groups such as Amnesty International which reported back in December that “militia killings of civilians in central and northern Mali are spiralling out of control”.
The attack was carried out by the militants from the Donzo/ Dogan group known as Dan Na Qmbassagou against the Fulani. The Donzo group are part of the Bambara, Mali's largest ethnic group and have been linked to several atrocities.
The attack was triggered by accusations of Fulani herders grazing cattle on Donzo land and disputes over access to land and water.
Tensions between the ethnic groups have further been inflamed by accusations the Fulani group are tied to jihadist militias such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. On Friday, Al Quaeda claimed respsonsiblity for an attack which killed 23 soldiers and inflamed tensions within the region.
Al Jazeera reports that:
“Armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) have exploited ethnic rivalries in Mali and its neighbours Burkina Faso and Niger to boost recruitment and render vast swaths of territory in the Sahel region virtually ungovernable”.
The Fulani have accused Mali's military of arming the hunters to attack them.