At least 23 people have died in violence in central Mali, local officials and security sources are quoted as saying.
Three villages were attacked by armed men on Sunday, the mayor of a nearby town, Cheick Harouna Sankare said.
“The situation is serious, the army needs to act to reassure the population,” he said.
The villages that were attacked are part of the Fulani community.
In recent months, central Mali has seen several bouts of violence which appear to be tit-for-tat attacks between Fulani and Dogon communities.
In June, 35 people died in an attack on a Dogon village.
In reaction to previous killings, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has said the government will boost security.