A senior government official called the attacks 'barbaric'
Unidentified armed men massacred 31 civilians in simultaneous attacks on several Mali villages this week, then killed nine soldiers responding to the assault as violence surges in the country's conflict-wracked centre.
An Islamist insurgency that erupted in the north of the vast West African country in 2012 has swept to its centre, inflaming ethnic tensions along the way.
Clashes between the ethnic communities of Fulani, nomadic herders, and Dogon traditional hunters have increased in recent months, with community-based militias -- initially formed for defence -- now launching attacks.
Armed uniformed men travelling in pick-up trucks attacked four Dogon villages on Wednesday, one local official said by telephone, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
The attack left at least 30 dead, including women, children, and the elderly, while others were missing, the official added.
A senior government official called the attacks "barbaric."
Officials did not immediately blame any group.
A military unit was dispatched to the area, and helped bury 31 bodies on Wednesday, army spokesman Colonel Diarran Kone told AFP.
On Thursday, the army received information about a new attack and sent the unit to Gouari, he said.
The attacks were not far from the village of Ogossagou, where 31 civilians were killed in February and 160 were butchered last year -- all Fulani.