The attack was carried out by armed men on motorbikes at the Kadji camp for displaced people, outside Gao - a region that has faced mounting unrest in recent months.

Nearly 60,000 displaced people have been registered in Gao alone, a UN document said in November.
Nearly 60,000 displaced people have been registered in Gao alone, a UN document said in November. (ECPAD / AA)

At least 11 civilians living in a camp for displaced people have been killed in a raid by unidentified armed men in northern Mali, according to officials and humanitarian workers.

A councillor in the town of Tessit, where many of the people in the camp came from, and national television reported the incident with the UN refugee agency confirming the death toll on Wednesday.

The camp was attacked late on Monday by men on motorbikes, the various sources said. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Kadji camp for displaced people is just kilometres from Gao, the capital of the region of the same name which has faced mounting unrest in recent months. The region has seen a major offensive by the Daesh terror group since March.

It has given rise to intense clashes with armed groups based in the vast desert expanses as well as civilian massacres. Tens of thousands have fled the violence.

Nearly 60,000 displaced people have been registered in Gao alone, a UN document said in November.

READ MORE: At least 50 civilians killed in April by Malian army, foreign troops: UN

'Reprisal' by armed fighters

"It's terrible, what happened," the town councillor told AFP news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity for safety reasons.

"All the shelters were set on fire and all the livestock there were taken away," said Mohamed Toure, the UNHCR representative in Mali.

The agency provided psychological and social support to victims, he added.

A commander of army operations in the region, Colonel Famouke Camara, described the attack as a reprisal by armed fighters against youths they had encountered earlier this year in Tessit who have since taken refuge in the Kadji camp.

Gao fell under the control of pro-independence rebels in 2012, who were later replaced by the armed fighters.

In response to the conflict, the United Nations established the peacekeeping mission MINUSMA to battle against fighters.

MINUSMA has about 12,000 military personnel deployed in the country. The three largest contributors are Chad, Bangladesh and Egypt.

In recent months there have been repeated instances of tensions between the Malian authorities and the mission.

The presence of Russian troops in the country has also created a strain between foreign troops, with Britain and Germany announcing that they would be withdrawing their military from the mission.

READ MORE: Mali militia accuses Daesh affiliate of killing dozens of civilians 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies