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Abstract

When insurgent groups in Mali initiated a rebellion for independence in late 2011, the National Guard and the Malian Defense and Security Forces (MDSF) in Gao were at the forefront of hostilities, which included the pillaging of weapons from government stores. Concurrently, the demise of the Gaddafi regime in Libya triggered an influx of small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) across the Sahel region and the return of fighters from Libya, making northern Mali their base. That challenge was quickly seized upon by jihadists and opportunists aiming to further destabilize Mali and enlarge their bases and activities throughout the Sahel region.

Since 2013, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), has been mandated by Security Council resolution 2364 “to assist the Malian authorities with the removal and destruction of mines and other explosive devices and weapons and ammunition management.” The resolution also “calls upon the Malian authorities, with the assistance of MINUSMA ... and international partners, to address the issue of the proliferation and illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.”

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