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The political and military situation remains stable in Malawi. Because of past conflicts and its geographical location (e.g. proximity to Mozambique), however, the country still faces weapons and ammunition trafficking. Ammunition management systems therefore need to ensure the proper storage and marking of weapons, and prevent the cross-border diversion and trafficking of weapons and ammunition.1

The African Union; the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States (RECSA); the Halo Trust; the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC); and the Multinational Small Arms and Ammunition Group (MSAG) are working on the ground to support the through-life management of ammunition, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence of Malawi. Efforts have included providing physical security and stockpile management training to police and military forces; organising explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) courses; building armoury and ammunition storehouses; destroying obsolete ammunition stocks; and conducting regional train-the-trainer programmes in ammunition management.2

Gregory Mthembu-Salter, Trading Life, Trading Death: The Flow of Small Arms from Mozambique to Malawi (Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2009),

“Ammunition Management Activity Platform (A-MAP),” GICHD, 2022,

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Map of Malawi

Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, one accidental explosion has been reported in Malawi.

Table 1. Accidental explosions in Malawi (1979–2021)

Year Location Owner/manager Deaths Injuries
1992 Mvera State (military) 0 N/A

Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021,

Cases of diversion

Several cases of diversion have been reported since 2016 in Malawi.

Table 2. Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition and explosives in Malawi since 2000

Year Location Description
2022 Zomba

An unknown man broke into the Zomba police station and stole an assault rifle with ten rounds of ammunition.



An unknown soldier from Malawi Defence Force (MDF) stole a revolver gun and live ammunition from Cobbe military barracks.



An assault rifle and 15 rounds of ammunition were stolen from a guard at police headquarters in Lilongwe.

Source: “Malawi Army Soldier Nabbed over Gun Theft at Cobbe Barracks,” AllAfrica, July 17, 2018,; Owen Khamula, “Malawi Police Officer Jailed for Losing Official Gun While Dozing on Duty,” Malawi Nyasa Times, September 9, 2016,; Lindiwe Sambalikagwa, “Three Malawi Police Officers Charged with Negligence over Stolen Gun,” Malawi 24, February 16, 2022,


Insufficient information on the disposal of ammunition in Malawi.


No needs have been reported for Malawi.

Source: Malawi, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Malawi to the UN, 2010),

Published Date: Tuesday 14 of November 2023