A member of the Malian Army (Fama) is seen at the military base in Anderamboukane, Menaka region. AFP
BAMAKO: More than 130 people were killed in an attack on a Fulani village in central Mali on Saturday, the United Nations said, as a delegation visited the country.
Survivors accused traditional Dogon hunters of carrying out the deadly raid in Ogossagou, according to Boubacar Kane, the governor of Bankass district which covers the village. A security source told AFP the victims were shot or hacked to death with machetes.
Policemen security forces secure the scene. Feisal Omar/Reuters
"The Secretary-General is shocked and outraged by reports that at least 134 civilians, including women and children, have been killed," Antonio Guterres's spokesman said in a statement, adding he called on Malian authorities "to swiftly investigate it and bring the perpetrators to justice".
The attack was launched at dawn on Saturday in the village near the border with Burkina Faso, said several sources. The district has been the scene of frequent inter-communal violence.
Two witnesses questioned separately by AFP said hunters had burned down nearly all the huts in the village.
Guterres's spokesman said the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, provided air support to deter further attacks and assisted with the evacuation of the injured.
"The Secretary-General is shocked and outraged by reports that at least 134 civilians, including women and children, have been killed
The massacre took place as a delegation from the United Nations Security Council visited the Sahel region to assess the jihadist threat there.
Earlier the UN said the visiting ambassadors from the Security Council countries met on Saturday with Mali's Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and discussed with him the volatile situation in the centre of the country.
While local attacks are fuelled by accusations of grazing cattle on Dogon land and disputes over access to land and water, the area is also troubled by jihadist influence.
In the past four years, militants fighters have emerged as a threat in central Mali. A group led by radical Islamist preacher Amadou Koufa has recruited mainly from the Muslim Fulani community.
Since then, there have been repeated clashes between the nomadic Fulani herders and the Dogon ethnic group.
Last year that violence cost the lives of 500 civilians, according to UN figures.
In January, Dogon hunters were blamed for the killing of 37 people in another Fulani village, Koulogon, in the same region.
The Fulani have repeatedly called for more protection from the authorities. The government in Bamako has denied their accusations it turns a blind eye to -- or even encourages -- Dogon attacks on the Fulani.
Once considered a beacon of democracy and stability in Africa, Mali in recent years has been dogged by a coup, civil war and extremist terrorism.
Extremists linked to Al Qaeda took control of the desert north in early 2012, but were largely driven out in a French-led military operation launched in January 2013.
In June 2015, Mali's government signed a peace agreement with some armed groups, but the militants remain active, and large tracts of the country remain lawless.
Despite the presence of UN peacekeepers, a strong French military contingent and the creation of a five-nation military force in the region, militant violence has not abated.
"A helicopter on a flying mission crashed late last night. Six personnel — including two army majors (both pilots) embraced shahadat (martyrdom) in the crash," the military said in a statement.
The bodies of the three occupants were found at about 1.30am (0030 GMT), an interior ministry statement said. France's Mediterranean coast has been hit by heavy rain over the last week that has led to serious flooding and widespread transport disruption.
The attack apparently targeted a local militia commander who escaped unharmed, said Jawad Hajri, a spokesman for the governor of Takhar province, where the attack took place late Saturday.
The pilot of a Romanian military MiG 21 LanceR and the seven soldiers sent to find him on a search-and-rescue helicopter mission all died when their aircraft were involved in separate crashes late on Wednesday, the defence ministry said.
The meeting addressed cooperation between the UAE and the Comoros and opportunities to advance ties in the economic, trade, investment, and development fields to achieve the aspirations of the two countries and peoples.
The children shared their immense pride in the noble legacy and selfless sacrifice of their fathers in the service of the nation.
Four months and seven countries later, he is in Cairo with a full scholarship to Al Azhar University. "If you have a dream, stay with it and be strong," Barry said. "God will help you."