Five civilians were killed and seven injured in clashes in central Mali between farmers and minority ethnic Fulani cattle herders, regional officials said on Sunday.
Mali's government said in a statement that it had deployed security forces to the region to prevent further clashes without blaming any groups for the violence, which took place on Saturday.
It called for an investigation to determine the culprits and said a government delegation was preparing to visit the site of the incident.
Herdsmen are often armed to protect themselves from attacks by cattle rustlers, and they sometimes stage deadly reprisals against the towns where the thieves are from.
Abdoul Aziz Diallo, president of the Tabital Pulaaku community group which represents Mali's Fulani community, told AFP the incident began after a number of animals were stolen.
"A significant number of animals were stolen. The owners of the animals went to look for their livestock and they fell into an ambush and there were clashes. Five people were killed and seven others were injured," he said.
"For us, the Malian government is not taking responsibility and disarming these groups who are killing over livestock in the region of Mopti."
Six of the wounded were taken south for treatment, a police source said.
"Five people were killed Saturday in the region of Mopti, in central Mali, following clashes between cattle raisers belonging to the Peul (Fulani) minority and farmers. Tensions remain high in the area," an elected representative from the region told AFP.
Between April and May, at least thirty civilians -- including a number of Fulani -- were killed in violence between the group and members of the majority Bambara people.