KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – The U.S. paid $50,000 in compensation for each villager killed and $11,000 for each person wounded in a shooting rampage allegedly carried out by an American soldier in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Sunday.

The families were told that the money came from President Obama. The unusually large payouts were the latest move by the White House to mend relations with the Afghan people after the killings threatened to shatter already tense relations.

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is accused of sneaking off his base on March 11, then creeping into houses in two nearby villages and opening fire on families as they slept.

There have been no violent protests following the killings in Kandahar province’s Panjwai district, but demands for justice on Afghan terms have been getting louder since Bales was flown out of the country to a U.S. military prison.

Many Afghans accuse the U.S. government of using Bales as a scapegoat.

Afghan officials and villagers have counted 16 dead — 12 in the village of Balandi and four in neighboring Alkozai — and six wounded.

The U.S. military has charged Bales with 17 murders without explaining the discrepancy.

The families of the dead received the money Saturday at the governor’s office, said Kandahar provincial council member Agha Lalai. He and community elder Jan Agha confirmed the payout amounts.

Survivors previously had received smaller compensation payments from Afghan officials — $2,000 for each death and $1,000 for each person wounded.

Two U.S. officials confirmed that compensation had been paid but declined to discuss exact amounts, saying only that the payments reflected the devastating nature of the incident.

A spokesman for NATO and U.S. forces, Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, said only that coalition members often make compensation payments, but they are usually kept private.

Families of the dead declined to comment on any payments by U.S. officials on Sunday, but some said previously that they were more concerned about seeing the perpetrator punished than money.

Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban and remains a dangerous area despite several offensives.

In the latest violence, a bomb struck a joint NATO-Afghan foot patrol in Kandahar’s Arghandab district late Saturday, killing nine Afghans and one international service member, according to Shah Mohammad, the district administrator.