BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Several Fulani civic associations say that Mali's army has killed 14 Fulani civilians who had been arrested and detained by the military in the country's central west region.

Abdul Aziz Diallo, president of the Peulh Tabital Pulaaku Association, alleged Monday that the army killings happened on Friday.

Mali's army said Saturday that 14 suspected extremists were killed when they allegedly attempted to escape detention. Mali's minister of defense on Sunday said the deaths will be investigated.

Residents in Nielbel said that soldiers came to the market Thursday and arrested 14 people who were later taken to Dioura.

Since 2015, mainly Fulani jihadist groups linked to al-Qaida have been attacking the Malian army. However, several human rights associations have accused the Malian army of serious human rights violations against civilians.