A relative says eight men killed by the Malian military raised animals for a living and were not criminals as the government alleges.

Mohamed Amzad, a relative of some of the victims, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he believed the deaths stemmed from a rivalry. He said the family of one of the victims had fallen out with another family with close ties to the military.

The men killed were Tuaregs, an ethnic group from northern Mali that has faced discrimination in the country's south.

Mali's government said Monday that soldiers had killed about 10 gunmen near the town of Diabaly on Oct. 21.

In September, rank-and-file soldiers killed 16 unarmed preachers in the same region who were coming from Mauritania en route to a religious conference.