Malian police patrol with Minusma forces in Gao, northern Mali. File picture: Souleymane Ag Anara/AFP

Nairobi - At least 37 people have been killed in an attack on a village in central Mali, the government confirmed late Tuesday.

Children and old people are said to be among the victims of the attack on the village of Koulogon in the Mopti region, Malian Communications Minister Arouna Modibo Toure said on Twitter.

He expressed his condolences to the families affected.

The government said many people had been injured in the attack and houses burnt down.

Armed men reportedly made off with livestock from the village, according to RFI.

Soldiers were sent to the region to provide security, the government said. The exact background of the attack was initially unclear.

The attackers had worn traditional Dozo clothes, the government statement said.

The area has seen tensions between shepherds of the Fulani people and traditional Dozo hunters.

Tensions between rival ethnic groups often spurred on by broader instability in the country, is common the West African state.

Several Sunni terrorist groups are also active in northern and central Mali, many of which have sworn allegiance to al-Qaeda.

In Mali, a 15,500-strong UN force is stationed to stabilize the state and monitor a 2015 national peace agreement.

Among the troops are some 1 000 German soldiers: For the Bundeswehr, it is after Afghanistan the second largest foreign mission, and is considered its most dangerous.

dpa