Explosive violence research

Mopti: 10 killed and 60 injured in suicide bombing – Sevare, 22 April

On Saturday 22 April, a triple suicide car-bombing in the central Mali town of Sevare killed at least 10 civilians and injured over 60. At least 20 buildings were damaged in the attack, including a petrol station. 

The cars exploded near a military base in the city, and Mopti Airport. This base has been targeted before, but this was the largest attack this year.

As of yet, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but jihadist groups are known to operate in the region. While insecurity is prevalent across Mali, which finds itself at the epicentre of a violent insurgency following a Tuareg separatist rebellion in 2012, the country’s central and northern regions are particularly affected. 

This is the deadliest explosive attack AOAV has recorded in Mali this year.

20/02/2023One civilian and one soldier killed, seven people injured in IED attack on a police checkpoint in Nara, KoulikoroKoulikoro
21/02/2023Three UN peacekeepers killed and five injured in roadside IED explosion against their convoy in Bandiagara, MoptiMopti
14/04/2023UN peacekeeper injured in mine explosion against his vehicle near Douentza town, MoptiMopti
18/04/2023Two UN peacekeepers injured in landmine explosion against a logistics convoy near Amba village, MoptiMopti
22/04/202310 civilians killled, 60 injured in triple suicide car bombing in Sevare town centre, Mopti; also near military camp and airport, 20 buildings destroyedMopti

So far in 2023, AOAV has recorded five incidents of explosive weapon use in Mali, and 93 casualties – 84% (78) of which were reported as civilians. Four of the five incidents, and 70 of the 78 civilian casualties happened in Mopti, while one incident killed and injured eight civilians in Koulikoro. Attacks have targeted roads and armed bases or police stations.

Since 2010, AOAV has recorded 182 incidents of explosive weapon use in Mali, which have caused at least 521 civilian casualties (204 killed, 317 injured). Civilians account for 26% of the total 2,037 casualties of explosive violence recorded in the country. 

Non-state actors reportedly killed and injured  69% (359) of civilian casualties in Mali since 2010. While unknown non-state actors caused the majority of civilian harm, Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), an umbrella coalition of  al-Qaeda affiliated groups based in Mali, have killed and injured at least 108 civilians since 2010, and at least 231 armed actors.

IEDs have caused 69% (357) of civilian casualties in Mali since 2010. Roadside bombs have killed and injured 149 civilians, and car bombs 140. Non-specific IEDs have caused 68 civilian casualties in that time. Air-launched weapons have caused 14% (75) of civilian casualties in that time, and ground-launched weapons 6% (33). Landmines have caused 10% (52) of civilian harm in Mali since 2010. 

Mopti is the worst impacted region in Mali for civilian casualties of explosive weapon use, accounting for 57% (295) of civilians killed and injured in the country since 2010. Roads are the most targeted locations, with 41% (75) of incidents recorded in these locations, as well as the majority, 22% (116) of civilian casualties. Explosive attacks in the town centres in Mali have killed and injured, on average, 51 civilians per incident. 

AOAV’s casualty figures represent the lowest of estimations in terms of the number of people killed and injured by explosive weapon use. In an effort to quantify the explicit harm caused by specific explosive weapons, AOAV solely records incident-specific casualty figures, as reported in English-language media.

AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area effects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.