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Mauritania, like other countries in the Sahel region, has been affected in recent years by political instability, neighbouring conflicts (e.g. Mali), non-state armed groups operating across borders as well as the diversion and trafficking of small arms and ammunition from national military stockpiles (mainly from Mali and Senegal).1 The majority of its ammunition stockpiles are comprised of ammunition obtained during the Western Sahara War, and arms received in 1990.2 Currently, the number of surplus ammunition is not clear.

MAG, the Small Arms Survey, Handicap International, NATO and the GICHD have been on the ground to support the Ministry of Defence of Mauritania with the through-life management of ammunition. Efforts have included the provision of equipment (e.g. forklifts and pallets), the building of ammunition and explosive storage areas, as well as the provision Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) toolkits. Furthermore, actors have provided assessments on ammunition management, trainings on Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) for police forces, and awareness-raising workshops on risks related to ammunition.3


1Mangan, Fiona, and Matthias Nowak. “Key Arms-Trafficking Routes and Flow Patterns - Mali.” Essay. In The West Africa–Sahel Connection: Mapping Cross-Border Arms Trafficking, 6–7. Small Arms Survey, 2019.

2Pézard, Stéphanie, and Anne-Kathrin Glatz. “Arms in and around Mauritania: National and Regional Security Implications.” Small Arms Survey, June 2010.

3See AMAP Dataset.

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Mauritania map

Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the beginning of data collection in 1979 by the Small Arms Survey, three accidental explosions were reported in Mauritania.

Table. 1 Accidental explosions in Mauritania (1979-2021)

Year Location Owner/manager Deaths Injuries


State (military)

0 0

Ould Yenje

State (military)

0 0


State (military)

0 0

Source: Small Arms Survey. n.d. Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS). Database.

Cases of diversion

Insufficient information on cases of diversion in Mauritania.


Handicap International, in partnership with the NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund for Mauritania, destroyed approximately 1,780 tonnes of ammunition of all calibers between 2011 and 2012.

Source: Houliat, Philippe. “Surplus SA/LW Destruction Project in Mauritania.” Published by Handicap International in 2014.



To further enhance safe and secure ammunition management, the following needs have been identified for Mauritania:

  • Development or refinement of standards and procedures on stockpile management
  • Capacity development for the destruction of surplus stockpiles
  • Assessing the situation of conventional arms and ammunition stockpiles under the responsibility of the Ministry of Defense (MoD)

Source: PoA Report 2018, Mauritania. Please note that PoA reports focus on SALW and not specifically on ammunition. See also AMAT Needs Data Set.

Published Date: Thursday 30 of June 2022