Jihadists killed 17 civilians in an attack of “unparalleled horror” in northern Mali, near the border with Niger, local militia groups said on Wednesday.
Elderly people were burned alive in their homes and attackers looted property.
It came days after suspected jihadists killed more than 40 people on April 26 and 27 in the northwestern region of Menaka, according to the UN.
“On May 1, members of the same terrorist group summarily executed 17 people in Tindinbawen and Taylalene,” GATIA and MSA said in a joint statement.
GATIA — the acronym in French for the Imghad and Allies Touareg Self-Defence Force — is a pro-government group, while the MSA stands for Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA), comprising former rebels.
The latest attack “reached an unparalleled level of horror”, the statement said, adding that after their attack, the assailants made off with looted possessions.
The French force Barkhane said the perpetrators probably belonged to a group calling itself the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.
That group is led by Adnane Abou Walid Sahraoui, a former member of another jihadist group called al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known by its French acronym of AQMI.