At least 25 people have been killed after clashes erupted between Dogon farmers and nomadic Fulani herders along the Mali-Burkina Faso border, authorities in Burkina have said.
The fighting, which began on Tuesday, took place near Sari, a Malian town about 15km from the border with Burkina Faso, Khalil Bara, governor of Burkina Faso's northern region, said on state radio on Thursday.
Bara said the dispute originated from an agreement between the two west African nations, which allows Burkina herders to take their livestock to camps in Mali where there was available green pastured land.
During the rule of former Malian president Amadou Toumani Toure, Fulani herders were allowed into Mali through special corridors.
But the Dogons have complained that the livestock has often damaged their crops.
"The Dogons, who have always opposed the opening of these corridors, taking advantage of the crisis in Mali, have decided to solve the problem by attacking Fulani settlements," Bara said, adding that most of the deaths were Fulanis.
The governor said more than 1,000 people, mostly herders, had fled back into villages in Burkina Faso.
The clashes between the two communities competing for water and land has led to an influx of refugees into Burkina Faso.
"We have started receiving hundreds of refugees from Sari," Abdoul Ouarma, a correspondent with the state AIB news agency in the northwestern town of Titao near the Malian border.
The Malian government was not immediately available for comment.
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|Timothy V. Gatto|