14 February 2013
Landmine Use in Malian Conflict Disturbing
(Geneva, 12 February 2013): The International Campaign to Ban Landmines is deeply concerned by recent reports of landmine use by insurgent groups in the Malian conflict. The number and type of landmines used, including possibly victim activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), have yet to be confirmed.
Casualty reports point to the use of antivehicle mines and the French military has also reported three antipersonnel mines found near Gao – ( AFP-Soldats Maliens). Informal reports in mid January indicated that one insurgent group, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, had issued a statement declaring the movement's intent to lay new landmines. Statements made last week by the same group to the media indicate that use will likely continue, threatening to leave a tragic legacy in the wake of the conflict - (AFP-Islamists open new front).
In the past two weeks, landmines are known to have killed at least six individuals in Mali, including four civilians.Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly last week pleaded for international help in addressing landmine contamination and preventing further casualties, noting the potential of landmines to jeopardize civilian safety for years to come. The 2012 Landmine Monitor documents landmine use by non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in 2011 (latest figures) in six countries – Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand and Yemen – up from four in the previous year. While NSAGs do not have the option of joining the Mine Ban Treaty, they can join the ban on use and possession of these indiscriminate weapons, and the ICBL calls on them to do so. For more information see the in the 2012 Landmine Monitor Mali country profile.