Armed men dressed as nomadic hunters have killed 134 civilians, including women and children, during an attack on a village in central Mali.
Another 55 civilians were injured in the attack in Ogossagou in the Mopti region.
The region’s Fulani ethnic community have been targeted before for allegedly having ties to “jihadist” organisations, according to the United Nations.
The Malian government said it “reiterates its determination to make every effort to hunt down the perpetrators of this barbarity of another age and to punish them, in accordance with the laws in force.”
The statement added: “In the same spirit, the government will continue to ensure the protection of the people, to recreate the conditions of true social cohesion and to promote national reconciliation.
“The government condemns with the utmost severity this heinous act and expresses its compassion to the families of the innocent victims.”
According to a government communique, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar and the Council of Ministers announced the dissolution of a so-called self-defence group yesterday.
However, the communique did not state whether this group was responsible for Sunday’s attack.
The group, known as ‘Dan Na Ambassagou’, is made up of members of the Dogon ethnic group. Last year, Human Rights Watch said Dan Na Ambassagou targeted members of the Fulani community in attacks that “led to dozens of civilian deaths and injuries.”
UNICEF said it was providing assistance to victims of the attack.
The Mopti region of Mali has witnessed consistent levels of violence in recent months.
Numerous soldiers were killed in Dioura last week, while 10 people from the Dogon community were killed in an attack on the village of Gondogourou last month.
A UN spokesperson said: “The Secretary-General condemns this act and calls on the Malian authorities to swiftly investigate it and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We call on the Malian authorities to redouble their efforts to bring back peace and stability to central Mali.”
There are at least three million Fula people in Mali, who are predominantly Muslims and live a nomadic life.