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Mali has been involved in several conflicts against Islamic insurgent groups since 2012.1 When insurgent groups in the country began to rebel for independence in late 2011, the fighting led to the diversion of small arms and light weapons from government storage areas. The end of Gaddafi’s rule in Libya resulted in significant flows of small arms, light weapons and ammunition in the Sahel region, with fighters from Libya using northern Mali as their base – thus contributing to increased instability in the country.2

Ammunition management activities in the country have been ongoing since 2013, and include assessments, support to national authorities in physical security and stockpile management, training courses, the construction of armouries and explosive stores, and the destruction of ammunition. Organisations working on the ground include the African Union, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC), the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and the HALO Trust. The African Union Roadmap is currently being implemented to reduce ammunition stocks in the region.3

"Mali," Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project (RULAC), Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, updated October 7, 2022,

Marlène Dupouy, “Strengthening Security in Mali with Weapons and Ammunition Management,” UNMAS, November 2017,; “Stemming the Tide: African Leadership in Small Arms and Light Weapons Control,” One Earth Future, November 3, 2018,

3 "African Union Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by Year 2020," African Union, February 4, 2020,

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Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, four accidental explosions have been reported in Mali.

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

Year Location Owner/Manager Deaths Injuries
2018 Bamako Non-State (private) 0 1
2015 Bamako Non-State (private) 1 2
2015 Gao Town Non-State (private) 1 1
1997 Kati State (military) 6 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 2006 in Mali. 

Table 2. Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition and explosives in Mali since 2006

Year Location Description
2014 Kidal Rebels captured 50 new 4×4 vehicles – which the EU had provided to the Malian army as part of its support for military training – as well as ‘several tonnes of arms and ammunition'.
2012 Aguelhok, Gao and Timbuktu The takeover of army bases led to the capture of army stockpiles.
2006–07 Amachach, Ménaka, Timbuktu and Gao Senior military officers allowed the transfer of several truckloads of arms and the looting of army stockpiles.

Source: Holger Anders, “Expanding Arsenals: Insurgent Arms in Northern Mali,” in Small Arms Survey, Small Arms Survey 2015: Weapons and the World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 156-69; Léo Gehin, "'War Weapons like Peanuts’: Mali Needs to Make SALW Proliferation a Priority Again,” Groupe de recherche et d'information sur la paix et la sécurité, March 9, 2021,; Fiona Mangan and Matthias Nowak. The West Africa-Sahel Connection: Mapping Cross-Border Arms Trafficking (Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2019),


To decrease the above-mentioned risks of accidental explosions and diversion, Mali has disposed of its ammunition since 2013.

Table 3. Disposal of tonnes of ammunition in Mali (2013–21)

Year Tonnes of ammunition
2013 218
2015 145
2017 17
2019 23
2021 129

Source: “Mali,” UNMAS, accessed April 27, 2022,; “In Mali a Total of 290 Tons of Obsolete, Unsafe and Unserviceable Ammunition Were Safely Destroyed since 2014,” UNMAS, Twitter, March 1, 2016,; “Over 62 Tons of Obsolete Ammunition and Expired Explosives Destroyed in #Mali. @UN_MINUSMA,” UNMAS, Twitter, March 17, 2015.; “UNMAS News July 2015,” ReliefWeb, July 29, 2015,; Anne Bauer, “Quatre Ans Après Serval, Le Mali n’a Pas Retrouvé La Sécurité,” Les Echos, January 12, 2017,; “Ammunition Management Activity Platform (A-MAP),” GICHD, 2022,


No reported needs have been identified for Mali.

Source: Mali, 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 Mali to the UN, 2020),


Published Date: Tuesday 14 of November 2023