Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 06 October 2016

The Republic of Mali is responsible for survivors of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) and has made commitments to provide victim assistance through the Mine Ban Treaty.

Mali ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 7 April 2008.


Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2015

467 mine/ERW casualties between 2006 and 2015

Casualties in 2015

167 (2014: 144)

2015 casualties by outcome

30 killed; 137 injured (2014: 23 killed; 121 injured)

2015 casualties by device type

45 antivehicle mine; 31 ERW; 29 undefined mine types; 45 victim-activated improvised explosive device (IED), 17 unknown explosive device type


The Monitor identified 167 mine/ERW casualties in Mali in 2015.[1] The majority of the casualties, 57%, were civilians (94 of 166 casualties where the civilian status was known).[2] Children (42) made up 45% of all civilian casualties for which the age was known (94). Another 72 casualties were security forces or armed personnel: 10 Malian military forces, 14 French military personnel, and 39 United Nations peacekeepers from the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) including troops from Cambodia (two), Chad (four), Niger (eight), Senegal (eight) and 17 MINUSMA personnel with the troop contributing country not reported. For another nine military/security force casualties no other details were recorded. The majority of incidents occurred in the regions of Gao and Kidal.

The 167 casualties in 2015 represented an increase from the 144 casualties identified in 2014. The 2015 mine/ERW casualty total continued on similar levels since a sharp rise in the number of casualties compared to previous years reported for 2013 and 2014.[3] In 2013, the number of civilian casualties rose in northern Malian communities and also among the population displaced by conflict.[4] In 2014, there was a dramatic increase in casualties among security forces, particularly UN peacekeepers.[5]

Most casualties were reported by UNMAS. The Geneva Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) recorded casualties from antivehicle mines, including suspected antivehicle mines. In one case the device type differed from UNMAS reporting.[6]

The Monitor identified a total of 467mine/ERW casualties (109 people killed and 358 injured) in Mali from 1999 to 2015, all of which occurred after 2006. Of that total, 90% of all the recorded casualties occurred since the current conflict began in 2012.

Victim Assistance

Assessing needs

In 2015, Handicap International (HI) increased its activities and conducted a community-based needs assessment for mine/ERW survivors and the families of casualties (indirect victims) to inform the development of community action plans. The assessment specially included the needs of children.[7]


There was no national coordination of victim assistance in Mali. UNMAS implemented a victim assistance program in the north.

The Ministry of Solidarity, Humanitarian Action, and the Reconstruction of the North is responsible for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities. Other key actors related to victim assistance activities included: the Ministry of Health, the Civil Protection Central Service, the National Orthopedic Centre of Mali (Centre National d'Appareillage Orthopédique , CNAOM), the Regional Orthopedic and Functional Rehabilitation Centres (Centres Régionaux d'Appareillage Orthopédique et de Rééducation Fonctionnelle, CRAORFs), and disabled people’s organizations (DPOs).[8] Persons with disabilities have access to basic healthcare, however protecting the rights of persons with disabilities was not a priority and few resources were available.[9]

Mali did not report on victim assistance in it’s Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report for calendar year 2015, nor in Form H of its Convention on Cluster Munitions Report for 2015.[10]

Due to increased conflict during 2013 most NGOs working with persons with disabilities suspended their programs.[11] HI, was able to resume some operations in 2014. In September 2014, HI, with the support of UNMAS, began implementing a project to assist survivors of incidents caused by explosive hazards, as well as other persons with disabilities, in the regions of Gao and Timbuktu, which are heavily affected by explosive weapons, including mines/ERW.[12]

Medical care

In 2015, the people of Mali were left with little or no basic healthcare as conflict and fighting between armed groups impeded humanitarian access and resulted in a lack of medical supplies and qualified personnel.[13]

The ICRC covered costs of weapon-wounded patients at Gao hospital; supported Kidal referral center, which saw an influx of weapon-injured people; and provided a one-off donation of bandaging materials for weapon-wounded persons at the referral center in the town of Ménaka.[14] In 2015, the Gao hospital was “in a state of chaos” and unable to provide care due to the impact of the conflict, while there was the greatest need for emergency medical care for injured persons. The hospital was restored to operational conditions with support from the ICRC.[15] Three times as many mine/ERW survivors were the among injured and sick who received medical services at the Gao regional hospital and other ICRC-supported medical centers compared to 2014 (at least 38 in 2015, and 18 in 2014). The Gao hospital continued to receive substantial ICRC support.[16] The ICRC suspended staff travel outside of towns in the north following an attack on one of its vehicles in March 2015. The three-month restriction reduced services for conflict-affected persons. The ICRC opened its delegation in Mali in 2013 in response to conflict and other situations of violence.[17]

Facilitators from Handicap International’s (HI) travelling risk education teams taught village-level emergency first response methods for the care of casualties from explosives, including reassuring the survivor and providing first aid.[18]

Rehabilitation including prosthetics

Due to the critical security and economic situations in 2013, the physical rehabilitation sector was severely disrupted, leading to the closing of regional orthopedic and rehabilitation centers and difficulties in paying staff. Rehabilitation activities at national centers began to resume in 2014.[19] HI signed an agreement with the CNAOM for the care of ERW survivors in Timbuktu and Gao regions resulting in the allocation of orthopedic equipment and raw materials to strengthen the existing CRAORFs. An ICRC rehabilitation project also contributed to improvements for persons with disabilities at the CNAOM, with imported raw materials for orthopedic devices. In 2015, 95% of planned activities were carried out at the CNAOM.[20]

The ICRC provided 15 prosthesis to mine/ERW survivors in 2015, a slight increase from 13 in 2014.[21] In 2015, the ICRC provided support to the Father Bernard Verspieren rehabilitation center (Centre Père Bernard Verspieren, CPBV) in Bamako operated by the Rehabilitation and Guidance Center for persons with disabilities on Comprehensive Therapeutic Support (Programme de Réadaptation d’Orientation des personnes Handicapées d’Encadrement Thérapeutique Elargi, PROPHETE), and three new rehabilitation centers including one in Timbuktu.[22] Due to the security situation, the ICRC took over support to the Father Bernard Verspieren Center from Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD). The SFD provided raw materials to the center before the handover to the ICRC.[23]

In 2015, HI supported and reinforced the capacities of the two regional rehabilitation centers in Northern Mali—in Timbuktu and Gao—with materials and technical advice, covered rehabilitation expenses for victims, and assessed the needs of ERW survivors. As a result, 160 survivors received services, a significant increase compared to the 40 survivors assisted in 2014.[24] Both rehabilitation centers were adapted to respond to the specific needs and vulnerabilities of children.[25]

Social and economic inclusion

HI implemented inclusive education and employment projects for persons with disabilities and provided support to DPOs.[26] The ICRC held sporting events for persons with disabilities in their communities.[27]

Laws and policies

There was no specific legislation protecting the rights of persons with disabilities or mandating physical accessibility to public buildings.[28] In June 2016, an advocate for the rights of women with disabilities in Mali reported that Malian women with disabilities often face multiple forms of discrimination due to their gender and being persons with disabilities. Poverty, illiteracy, high unemployment, a high probability of gender-based violence, psychological issues, and stigma were highlighted as serious problems. The government of Mali must take steps to create effective national laws and implement legislation and programs in order to address the rights of all persons with disabilities, and specifically for women and girls.[29]

[1] Monitor media monitoring from 1 January to 31 December 2015; Geneva Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), “Anti-Vehicle Mine Incidents Map,” undated; casualty data sent by email from Claude Mushid, Database Officer, United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) Mali, 2 February 2016; and email from Donat Blugeon, C-IED Officer, UNMAS Mali, 25 February 2016.

[2] For one casualty the civilian status was not reported.

[3] Five mine casualties were identified in 2011, no casualties in 2010, and six ERW casualties in 2009. See previous country reports and country profiles on the Monitor website.

[4] UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), “Priority actions and humanitarian needs analysis: A re-evaluation prompted by intensified conflict in central and northern Mali in January 2013,” 11 March 2013, pp. 13–14.

[5] Monitor media monitoring; and emails from Claude Mushid, UNMAS Mali, 12 February 2015; and Donat Blugeon, UNMAS Mali, 13 February 2015.

[6] For 2015, the GICHD recorded 62 casualties of antivehicle mines and another 14 casualties of suspected antivehicle mines (undefined mine types) from media-reported incidents for which the mine type was not confirmed. GICHD, “Anti-Vehicle Mine Incidents Map,” undated; and casualty data provided by email from Ursign Hofmann, Policy Advisor, GICHD, 11 July 2016. There were some differences between GICHD and UNMAS data available to the Monitor: in one incident the GICHD recorded four people killed and 27 injured by an antivehicle mine, whereas UNMAS recorded four killed and 28 injured by a victim-activated IED.

[7] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Mohamed Lamine Touré, HI, 1 August 2016.

[9] United States (US) Department of State, “2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Mali,” Washington, DC, 13 April 2016.

[10] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form J; and Convention on Cluster Munition Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form H.

[11] HI reported closing their activities in northern Mali due to the conflict. Email from Benoit Couturier, HI Mali, 16 April 2014. See also, US Department of State, “2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Mali,” Washington, DC, 27 February 2014.

[13] Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), “MSF international activity report 2015,” July 2016.

[14] ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016, p. 171.

[16] ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016, p. 173.

[17] Ibid., pp. 168–169.

[19]National Orthopaedic Centre of Mali (CNAOM): Resumption of activities” (“Centre National d’Appareillage Orthopédique du Mali (CNAOM) : Reprise des activités”), Maliweb, 26 March 2014.

[20]Centre national d’appareillage orthopédique du Mali : Le budget 2016 revu en baisse à l’ordre de 2%” (“National Center orthopedic of Mali: The 2016 budget revised down to around 2%”), Abamako, 10 February 2016.

[21] ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016, p. 173.

[22] Ibid., p. 171.

[23] ICRC SFD, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016, pp. 8, 13.

[24] HI, “Mali 2015,” August 2015; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Mohamed Lamine Touré, HI, 1 August 2016.

[25] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Mohamed Lamine Touré, HI, 1 August 2016.

[26] HI, “Mali 2015,” August 2015.

[27] ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016, p. 171.

[28] US Department of State, “2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Mali,” Washington, DC, 13 April 2016.

[29] Gender and Mine Action Program (GMAP), “Persons with Disabilities living in a conflict: Mali,” 20 July 2016.