Mali: civilians are increasingly affected by

Since the conflict began in 2012, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and landmines have been a growing threat in Mali. For the soldiers, but also for the civilians who use the same roads or tracks, which are broken without goal difference, a threat that affects the daily lives of the peoples of northern and central Mali, in the grip of the conflict, and which is sinking to the south.

From our correspondent in Bamako,

An impromptu football match for Oumar, Boubacar and Soufi. The scene seems almost common in the Malian capital, if it were not for the bone prostheses that the three Malians are equipped with. “We jumped on a mine, I lost my left leg,” Oumar explains.

Since his accident, Oumar Coulibaly, a soldier, has made it his mission to return victims of explosive devices to medical facilities. There are many civilians there, including Fatoumata Traoré. In a corner of the father Bernard Verspieren Center in Bamako, she is waiting for her prosthesis to be adjusted. She also lost her leg when she visited her brother in Gao in the north of the country. It was 2016.

“When we came from Gao, our bus went up to a mine that destroyed it. Some people died, I was injured. My leg was cut off. By God’s grace I could be treated, I was put on a prosthesis to walk. “At that time, she was not aware of the dangers of mining.” But now, “she says,” everyone is afraid. “

Today it is Ibrahim Traoré who takes care of her. From this Bamako center, the orthopedic dentist regularly sees civilians, victims of explosive devices. “Since the beginning of the security crisis, we have noticed that more and more civilians are victims of mines. These are civilians who are generally affected in their daily activities. ”

Particularly vulnerable children

In addition to threatening their lives, these explosive devices restrict their livelihoods, such as transporting livestock, water or certain commercial activities. Since the end of 2017, the increase in incidents related to improvised explosive devices has led to an increase in civilian accidents.

Children would be particularly vulnerable, explains Luc AdamSambou, disarmament coordinator at the Danish Refugee Council, which has set up a support program for the victims. “Children are particularly exposed to the danger of explosive devices placed on the tracks, which these children also use for subsistence reasons, for example to lead the herd to pasture, to search for firewood, water …”

Young Boubacar, football shirt on his back and ball on his foot, lost his leg when he left the market. “We were sitting in a car. When we passed, we were hit by a mine. I wanted to become an apprentice trainer.”

Among civilians, those displaced by conflicts are most vulnerable. In 2020, the United Nations Mining Access Service (UNMAS) registered 170 incidents related to explosive devices. Of the 76 killed and 287 injured, 49% were civilians. And in the first six months of 2021, 54 people were killed and 184 injured by explosive devices, almost a third of them civilians, according to the UN.


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