Bamako - Mali's government says terrorists killed 30 Tuaregs in the north of the country, contradicting reports of clashes between local Tuareg and Peul communities.
Security Minister Sada Samake said on state television on Sunday that the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or Mujao, on Friday ambushed two vehicles full of civilians.
State television said 24 were killed in that ambush along with six others in a Tuareg camp not far from the ambush site in the Gao region.
But a statement from the country's United Nations mission Saturday attributed the deaths to "intercommunal clashes." In November clashes between the Tuareg and Peul communities in the same region killed 15 people.
Mujao has not claimed responsibility.
Gao fell to Mujao before a French-led military intervention last year scattered the extremists.