Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019


The Republic of Mali signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, ratified on 2 June 1998, and became a State Party on 1 March 1999. National implementation measures adopted in 2000 include penal sanctions and fines.[1]

Mali occasionally attends meetings of the treaty, most recently the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014 and, prior to that, the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties in Cambodia in November–December 2011. Mali last submitted an Article 7 transparency report in 2005.

Mali is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war. It is also party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Mali has never produced or exported antipersonnel landmines. Mali initially declared that it had possessed stockpiles of antipersonnel mines since 1974, the majority supplied by the former Soviet Union.[2] In 1998, it destroyed a stockpile of 7,127 antipersonnel mines, together with 5,131 antivehicle mines.[3] In 2003, Mali reported that it retained 600 antipersonnel mines for training purposes, but it has never reported any use of these mines.[4]


Mali stated in 2001 that it had never used antipersonnel mines and that there had been no reports of use by government forces or Tuareg rebels.[5]

In January 2012, an armed conflict began in the north of the country between the Malian government and its allies versus armed opposition groups allied with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). In January 2013, the French military began operations in cooperation with the government of Mali to help to re-take areas in the north of the country. Military personnel from African Union states deployed as part of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali, while the UN deployed the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.

In 2013 and 2014, there were several reports indicating the use of either antivehicle mines or improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by armed opposition groups participating in the armed conflict. Between November 2013 and July 2014, there were several antivehicle mines incidents that caused civilian casualties, including aid workers and UN peacekeepers.[6] According to GICHD-SIPRI data, the number of antivehicle mine incidents that caused civilian casualties has increased significantly in recent years, due to mines laid by non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in Mali.

In 2018, Mali topped the list of countries with the highest number of casualties from antivehicle mines, at 254. This shows a dramatic increase in casualties from 76 in 2015. GICHD-SIPRI also noted that the locations of the incidents were no longer contained to the northern regions of Mali; in 2018, 44% of antivehicle mine incidents occurred in the central regions.[7] In 2019, there were several antivehicle mine incidents resulting in UN peacekeeper casualties: on 25 January two UN peacekeepers were killed and six injured in Mopti region.[8] On 20 April, one peacekeeper was killed and four were wounded in Timbuktu.[9] On 5 October, one peacekeeper was killed and four wounded in northern Mali.[10]

In July 2012, a NSAGs called the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa claimed it had laid antipersonnel mines near the city of Gao. After several apparent landmine casualties near Gao in early 2013, Mali’s Minister of Foreign Affairs accused AQIM of using antipersonnel mines.[11] The ICBL described the reported landmine use as “disturbing.”[12] However, no antipersonnel mines were ever recovered from the area.

[1] Two legal texts, an ordinance, and a decree prohibit the development, manufacturing, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, offer, import, export, transfer, and use of antipersonnel mines. Breach of the legislation is punishable with a maximum of life imprisonment and a fine of between CFA500,000 and CFA3 million (approximately US$1,150 to $6,900). Ordinance No. 049/P-RM on the Implementation of the Convention, adopted on 27 September 2000; and Decree No. 569/P-RM on the Application of the Ordinance, adopted on 15 November 2000. An interministerial National Commission for a Total Ban on Landmines was established in June 2002 to take responsibility for the mine issue. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 341.

[2] Anonymous Malian sources.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form B, 17 May 2001.

[4] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 31 July 2003. Mali initially reported in 2001 that it retained 2,000 antipersonnel and 1,000 antivehicle mines for training purposes. In 2003, it reported having consumed 1,400 antipersonnel mines and 700 antivehicle mines during training activities.

[5] Statement by the Ministry of Defense, Seminar on the Universalization and Implementation of the Ottawa Convention in Africa, Bamako, 16 February 2001.

[6] See, for example: “Officials: 4 people killed in landmine explosion in northern Mali,” The Washington Post, 5 November 2013; “Land mine injures 5 Chadian peacekeepers patrolling in northern Mali,” Fox News, 20 January 2014; “Two aid workers injured in landmine explosion in Mali,” World Bulletin, 27 February 2014; and “Land mine kills UN peacekeeper in northern Mali,” Grand Island Independent, 1 July 2014.

[8] Joanne Stocker, “UN peacekeepers in Mali killed by mine near Douentza,” Defense Post, 25 January 2019.

[11] Jeffery Schaffer, “AP Interview: Mali Wants Help Against Land Mines,” Associated Press, 4 February 2013. For example, on 4 February 2013 the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that two civilians had died in an explosion involving a landmine or an IED on the road between Kidal, Anefis, and North Darane. “UN: 2 civilians killed by land mines in north Mali,” Associated Press (Timbuktu), 4 February 2013.

[12] ICBL Press Release, “Landmine Use in Malian Conflict Disturbing,” 12 February 2013.