Officials say more than a dozen ethnic Peul are feared dead in northern Mali following clashes with members of the Tuareg ethnic group near the border with neighboring Niger.

A Malian security official based in the northern city of Gao said 16 were killed in the clashes Saturday. The official insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Florent Geel, Africa director for the International Federation for Human Rights, also said 16 were killed but added that the organization was waiting on details. He spoke by phone from Bamako, citing information provided by a member in Gao.

Reports of the deaths came as Malians voted in legislative elections meant to complete the transition to constitutional rule following a March 2012 coup.