Mali's government says the violence took place on Monday in the ethnic Dogon villages of Gangafani and Yoro.
A Malian security official who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to reporters said the attackers were from an ethnic Peuhl militia.
Tensions have grown between the two groups since a March massacre in a Peuhl village that left nearly 160 people dead. Earlier this month an attack on a Dogon village left at least 35 dead, many of them children.
Months of intercommunal violence began with the arrival of extremists in central Mali who are accused of working alongside Peuhl militias.