Rebel Forces in Northern Mali: Documented Weapons, Ammunition and Related Materiel (Co-publication)


In January 2012 Tuareg separatist fighters launched military operations against Malian government forces in northern Mali. A disparate array of rebel Tuareg forces and fighters with Islamist agendas later joined the rebellion.

Rebel Forces in Northern Mali: Documented Weapons, Ammunition and Related Materiel is a report that documents the weaponry in use by these insurgent groups. It is published online by Conflict Armament Research in partnership with the Small Arms Survey’s Security Assessment in North Africa (SANA) project.

The rebellion differs in scale and intensity to previous Tuareg rebellions in northern Mali: a factor that many international commentators have attributed to an outpouring of weapons, ammunition, and related materiel from the 2011 Libyan civil war. The report identifies weaponry that can be attributed to former Libyan military arsenals, including 106 mm recoilless rifles and NR-160 rockets. Weapons such as BM-21 multiple-launch rocket systems, 9M22M rockets, and UB-32 rocket launchers proliferated extensively in post-conflict Libya, and the examples found in Mali may well have originated there.

While the provenance of numerous weapons, ammunition, and related materiel  is unclear, there are firm indications that rebel fighters captured some of this materiel from the Malian armed forces. Recovered weapons indicate that the rapid advances made in March and April 2012, during which the rebel forces seized military bases in the towns of Gao, Kidal, and Timbuktu, led to the capture of a variety of ordnance. These included small arms and light weapons, as well as major conventional weapons, such as BM-21 multiple-launch rocket systems. 


Keywords: Ammunition