Malian Armed Forces

  (Redirected from Military of Mali)

The Malian Armed Forces (French: Forces Armées Maliennes) consists of the Army (French: Armée de Terre), Republic of Mali Air Force (French: Force Aérienne de la Republique du Mali), and National Guard (French: Garde Nationale du Mali).[6] They number some 7,000 and are under the control of the Minister of Armed Forces and Veterans. The Library of Congress as of January 2005 stated that "[t]he military is underpaid, poorly equipped, and in need of rationalization. Its organisation has suffered from the incorporation of Tuareg irregular forces into the regular military following a 1992 agreement between the government and Tuareg rebel forces."[7]

Malian Armed Forces
Forces Armées Maliennes
Emblème des Forces Armées Maliennes (FAMa).svg
Founded10 October 1960; 61 years ago (1960-10-10)[1][2][3]
Service branchesMalian Army
Malian Air Force
Malian Gendarmerie
Republican Guard
National Guard
National Police (Sûreté Nationale)
PresidentAssimi Goïta
Minister of DefenceSadio Camara
Chief of General StaffOumar Diarra
ConscriptionCompulsory military service[4]
Active personnel7,350 plus 4,800 paramilitary forces
Budget$68 million ($5 million procurement) (FY03)
Percent of GDP2% (FY01)
Foreign suppliersBulgaria[5]
United States[5]
Related articles
RanksMilitary ranks of Mali

In 2009, the IISS Military Balance listed 7,350 soldiers in the Army, 400 in the Air Force, and 50 in the Navy.[8] The Gendarmerie and local police forces (under the Ministry of Interior and Security) maintain internal security. The IISS listed paramilitary total force as 4,800 personnel: 1,800 in the Gendarmerie (8 companies), 2,000 in the Republican Guard, and 1,000 police officers. A few Malians receive military training in the United States, France, and Germany.

Military expenditures total about 13% of the national budget. Mali is an active contributor to peacekeeping forces in West and Central Africa; the Library of Congress said that in 2004 Mali was participating in United Nations operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC, 28 personnel including 27 observers), Liberia (UNMIL, 252 personnel, including 4 observers), and Sierra Leone (3 observers).


The Malian armed forces were initially formed by Malian conscript and volunteer veterans of the French Armed Forces. In the months preceding the formation of the Malian armed forces, the French Armed Forces withdrew from their bases in Mali. Among the last bases to be closed were those at Kati, on 8 June 1961, Tessalit (une base aérienne secondaire), on 8 July 1961, Gao (base aérienne 163 de Gao), on 2 August 1961, and Air Base 162 at Bamako (base aérienne 162 de Bamako), on 5 September 1961.[1]

"On 1 October 1960, the Malian army was created and solemnly installed through a speech by Chief of Staff Captain Sekou Traore. On 12 October the same year, the population of Bamako attended for the first time an army parade under the command of Captain Tiemoko Konate. Organizationally, says Sega Sissoko, is the only battalion of Ségou and includes units scattered across the territory. A memo from the Chief of Staff ordered a realignment of the battalion. Following on, a command and services detachment in Bamako was created, and the engineer company in Ségou, the first Saharan motorized company of Gao, the Saharan Motor Company of Kidal, the Arouane nomad group, nomadic group of Timetrine (in the commune of Timtaghène), the 1st Reconnaissance Company and Nioro 2nd Reconnaissance Company Tessalit. As of 16 January 1961, Mali's army totaled 1232 men."[1][3]

A national guard soldier walks by demonstrators at Bamako airport.

In the sixties and seventies, Mali's army and air force relied primarily on the Soviet Union for materiel and training.[7]

On 19 November 1968, a group of young Malian officers staged a bloodless coup and set up a 14-member military junta, with Lieutenant Moussa Traoré as president. The military leaders attempted to pursue economic reforms, but for several years faced debilitating internal political struggles and the disastrous Sahelian drought. A new constitution, approved in 1974, created a one-party state and was designed to move Mali toward civilian rule. The military leaders remained in power.[9]

Single-party presidential and legislative elections were held in June 1979, and General Moussa Traoré received 99% of the votes. His efforts at consolidating the single-party government were challenged in 1980 by student-led anti-government demonstrations, which were brutally put down, and by three coup attempts. The Traore government ruled throughout the 1970s and 1980s. On 26 March 1991, after four days of intense anti-government rioting, a group of 17 military officers, led by subsequent President Amadou Toumani Touré, arrested President Traoré and suspended the constitution. They formed a civilian-heavy provisional ruling body, and initiated a process that led to democratic elections.[9]

The Tuareg rebellion began in 1990 when Tuareg separatists attacked government buildings around Gao. The armed forces' reprisals led to a full-blown rebellion in which the absence of opportunities for Tuareg in the army was a major complaint. The conflict died down after Alpha Konaré formed a new government and made reparations in 1992. Also, Mali created a new self-governing region, the Kidal Region, and provided for greater Tuareg integration into Malian society. In 1994, Tuareg, reputed to have been trained and armed by Libya, attacked Gao, which again led to major Malian Army reprisals and to the creation of the Ghanda Koi Songhai militia to combat the Tuareg. Mali effectively fell into civil war.

As of June 2008, service commanders were Colonel Boubacar Togola (Armée de Terre), Colonel Waly Sissoko (Armée de l'Air), Lieutenant-Colonel Daouda Sogoba (Garde Nationale) et du Colonel Adama Dembélé (Gendarmerie Nationale).[10]

The Malian army largely collapsed during the war against Tuareg separatists and Islamist rebels in early 2012. In a span of less than fourth months at the start of 2012, the Malian army was defeated by the rebels who seized more than 60% of the former Malian territory, taking all camps and position of the army, capturing and killing hundreds of Malian soldiers, while hundred others deserted or defected.[11]

Following the rebel advance, a group of soldiers from the Kati camp near Bamako staged a coup on 22 March 2012 which overthrew Malian president Amadou Toumani Touré. After the junta seized power, they successfully repelled a counter coup on 30 April by loyalists from the red berets elite units.[12]

The Malian military was rebuilt by French forces, and is now capable of conducting counter terrorism operations. In February 2020, the army stated that up to 200 Malian troops arrived in Kidal, a Northern city. This was the first time the army was deployed in this area because of the Tuareg Separatists rebels that chased out the army since 2014.[13]


Members of the Malian army conduct drills to instruct new recruits during exercise Flintlock 2007 in Tombouctou, Mali, 2007.
Fahd armoured personnel carrier of the Mali Army being prepared for an airlift.

Manpower is provided by two-year selective conscription. Mali apparently has six military regions, according to Jane's World Armies. The 1st Military Region and 13th Combined Arms Regiment may be in Gao.[14] The 3rd Military Region appears to be at Kati.[15] The 4th Military Region is at Kayes[16] and the 5th Military Region is at Timbuktu.[17]

The 512 Regiment was reported within the 5th Military Region in 2004.[18] In 2010 Agence France-Presse reported that French training would be given to the 62nd Motorized Infantry Regiment of the 6th Military Region, based at Sévaré.[19] The same story said that the regiment consisted of three Rapid Intervention Companies (CIR) and AFP said it was "considered the elite...of the Malian army."[19]

Mali is one of four Saharan states which created a Joint Military Staff Committee in 2010, to be based at Tamanrasset in southern Algeria. Algeria, Mauritania, Niger, and Mali were to take part.[20]

The 134e Escadron de Reconnaissance (reconnaissance squadron) was to be trained to operate the French ACMAT Bastion APC by the EUTM Mali.[21]

The Army controls the small navy (approx. 130 sailors and 3 river patrol boats).

Sources: Mali Actu Archived 27 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine 17 February 2012: Liste des généraux du Mali sous ATT : À quoi servaient-ils ? Quel sera leur sort ? Archived 21 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine and Le Monde-Duniya du 12 avril 2012: Les Generaux du MALI[permanent dead link]


Small armsEdit

Name Origin Type Variant Notes
Walther PP[22] Germany Semi-auto pistol
MAT-49[22] France Submachine gun
AKM[22] Soviet Union Assault rifle Modernized variant of the AK-47
AK-47[22] Russia Assault rifle
BD-08 Bangladesh Assault Rifle Used in Peacekeeping Operations
SKS[22] Russia Semi-automatic rifle
MAS-36[22] France Bolt action rifle
MAS-49[22] France Battle rifle
Zastava M77 B1[23] Serbia Assault rifle
PKM[22] Soviet Union Light machine gun
RPK[22] Soviet Union Light machine gun
Uk vz. 59[citation needed] Czechoslovakia General-purpose machine gun
DShK[22] Soviet Union Heavy machine gun
AA-52[22] France Heavy machine gun
M2 Browning[22] United States Heavy machine gun M2HB
RPG-7[22] Soviet Union Rocket-propelled grenade


Name Origin Type In service Notes
Armored fighting vehicle
T-54/T-55 Soviet Union Main battle tank 12[24]
T-34 Soviet Union Medium tank 30[5]
Type 63 People's Republic of China Light tank 18[5]
PT-76 Soviet Union Light tank 20[5]
BTR-60 Soviet Union Amphibious APC 54[5] BTR-60PB variant[5]
BTR-70 Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier 9[5]
BTR-152 Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier 10[5]
BTR-40 Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier 30[25]
Fahd Egypt Armoured personnel carrier 5[5]
ACMAT Bastion France Armoured personnel carrier 18[5]
RG-31 Nyala South Africa MRAP 18[5]
BRDM-2 Soviet Union Scout car 64[5]
Storm 4x4 APC Qatar Scout car 24 [26] Donated by Qatar[27]
Casspir South Africa MRAP 29 [28] Donated by Germany [28]
Kia KLTV South Korea Light tactical vehicle at least three[29] Purchased from South Korea [30]
D-30 Soviet Union Howitzer 8[5]
D-44 Soviet Union Anti-armor gun 6[25]
M1944 BS-3 Soviet Union Anti-armor gun 6[5]
M43 120mm Soviet Union Heavy mortar 30[31]
BM-21 Grad Soviet Union Multiple rocket launcher 32[5] Modernized by Bulgaria.[5]

Training establishmentsEdit

The Malian armed forces have at least two significant training establishments:

The Alioune Bloundin Beye school is the tactical-level component of a trio of three ECOWAS peacekeeping training schools: the Alioune Bloundin Beye school (EMPABB), the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana (operational level), and the Nigerian National Defence College (strategic level).[32] The school has trained over 6900 students since its opening and is currently supported financially and technically by seven countries and as well as the ECOWAS.[33]

Malian soldiers stand MiG 21bis fighters at Bamako–Sénou International

Air ForceEdit

The Mali Air Force (Armée de l'air du Mali) was founded in 1961 with French supplied military aid. This included MH.1521 Broussard utility monoplane followed by two C-47 transports until Soviet aid starting in 1962 with four Antonov AN-2 Colt biplane transports and four Mi-4 light helicopters.[34] It used to operate MiG jets but is currently equipped with cargo aircraft, light attack aircraft and helicopters.


  1. ^ a b c DISCOURS DE AMADOU TOUMANI TOURE, PRESIDENT DE LA REPUBLIQUE, : CINQUANTENAIRE DU 20 JANVIER Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine (Speech by Amadou Toumani Touré, President of the Republic Demi-Centennial of 20 January),, 20 January 2011. The President of Mali's Demi-Centennial Army Day speech, with a detailed history of the formation of the Malian Armed Forces and withdrawal of French forces.
  2. ^ 49EME ANNIVERSAIRE DU 20 JANVIER Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Discours de Amadou Toumani TOURE, Président de la République,(49th Anniversary of 20 January, speech by Amadou Toumani Touré, President of the Republic of Mali),, 20 January 2010. The President of Mali on the History of the Malian Armed forces.
  3. ^ a b Fete de l'armee: Beintot un demi siecle. Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine S. Konate. L’Essor n°16365, 2009-01-19. Reprinted on
  4. ^ Financial Times, World Desk Reference Mali Defense Archived 10 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Trade Registers". Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  6. ^ "The World Factbook". Central Intelligence Agency. United States Federal Government. 12 January 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  7. ^ a b Library of Congress, Country Profile, January 2005
  8. ^ IISS Military Balance 2009 p.310
  9. ^ a b Herbert Howe, Ambiguous Order: Military Forces in African States, Lynne Rienner, 2005, p.277
  10. ^ État-major général des armées : Le colonel Gabriel Poudiougou promu Général de brigade Archived 9 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. L'Indépendant, 12/06/2008
  11. ^ Dixon, Robyn; Labous, Jane (4 April 2012). "Gains of Mali's Tuareg rebels appear permanent, analysts say". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ Pflanz, Mike (1 May 2012). "Mali counter-coup fails". The Daily Telegraph.
  13. ^ "Mali troops return to key northern city after six-year absence". Reuters. 13 February 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  14. ^ State Department
  15. ^[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 February 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ United States European Command, 1/10 Special Forces Group Supports Pan Sahel Initiative Archived 26 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine, 2004
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ a b, French troops for anti-terrorist training in Mali Archived 8 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine, 13 April 2010.
  20. ^ "Saharan states to open joint military headquarters". BBC. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2010.. See also – 09ALGIERS0048, on Tamanrassat committee
  21. ^ "Mali: training in the use of the armored vehicle "Bastion"". 22 February 2016. Archived from the original on 6 January 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (27 January 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  23. ^ "Disgruntled Mali troops fire weapons, kidnap officer". Fox News. 25 March 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2018.[better source needed]
  24. ^ "Mali Military". 8 August 2013. Archived from the original on 16 August 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2015.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  25. ^ a b Africa Contemporary Record: Annual Survey and Documents. Africana Publishing Company, 1998, Volume 23 p. B90.
  26. ^ Tom_Antonov (26 December 2018). "Malian army receives 24 'Storm' Light APCs from #Qatar as part of international efforts to boost the country's military capacity against terrorist groups (and transported by 3 #QAF C-17 aircraft).[sic]". Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  27. ^ de Cherisey, Erwan (9 January 2019). "Mali receives Storm armoured vehicles donated by Quatar". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. 56 (2): 17.
  28. ^ a b Defence Web (2 August 2019). "EU training Mali on donated Casspirs".
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 August 2019. Retrieved 11 August 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "Bemil사진자료실 - 유용원의 군사세계".
  31. ^ "Mali Fact Files". Institute for Security Studies Africa. 2001. Archived from the original on 27 November 2006. Retrieved 1 December 2014.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  32. ^ Retrieved September 2011
  33. ^ Retrieved February 2015
  34. ^ World Aircraft Information Files. Brightstar Publishing, London. Files 337, Sheet 04.

  This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document: "2003 edition".

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit