BAMAKO, Mali — A Tuareg leader says extremists linked to the Islamic State group in Mali have killed at least 17 people in two communities in the West African nation's Menaka region.

Moussa Ag Acharatoumane, secretary-general for the Tuareg self-defense group, says the attacks by Islamic State in the Greater Sahara occurred in Tindinbawen and Taylalene.

Violence has been increasing in the region between the Fulani communities, some of whom are suspected of links with the extremist group, and Tuaregs allied with French soldiers fighting extremism in the Sahel.

A Fulani association on Sunday said 44 Fulanis were killed by the Tuareg group on April 27 along the Mali-Niger border.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali says extremists killed at least 47 Tuareg civilians in the Menaka region on April 26 and 27.