Armed men from the ethnic Peul community have massacred at least 30 Tuaregs in a revenge attack in northern Mali, an elected regional official said Friday.
Oumar Maiga told AFP the Peul had carried out the attack on Thursday in Tamkoutat, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of the city of Gao, "to retaliate against the kidnapping" of one of their own people.
"Our relatives were killed in cold blood, at least 30 people are dead," former regional lawmaker Assarid Ag Imbarcaouane said, while a source in the security forces said those slain included a woman and child.
"A few injured" people survived, added the source, reached from Bamako.
The Tuaregs had been on their way back from a market in two vehicles which were stopped and attacked by the Peul, the security source said. "One of the vehicles was burned."
Apart from cattle rustling, the Peul and the Tuaregs accuse each other of carrying out hold-ups in the remote desert north of Mali.
A contingent of Malian troops arrived in the region on Friday to provide greater security for locals, the defence ministry announced.