Back to publications

When the Music Stops: The Impact of Terrorism on Malian Youth

21 Oct 2020
Long read

The casualties caused by armed violence in Mali have increased fourfold between 2016 and 2019, with young people being among the most affected by the situation. Insecurity, lack of economic opportunities, limited mobility and poor governance place youths at risk of engagement into violent extremism. Although many initiatives have been developed to prevent and counter violent extremism in the region, few have highlighted the first hand experiences of Malian youths in encountering terrorists within their own communities. This report, based on primary data collected by UNICRI and ICCT in the field as part of their MERIT project, seeks to understand the impact of terrorism on young Malians, finding that young people are exposed to increased levels and multiple types of violence in all regions covered by the study and are often forced to adhere to new systems of governance imposed by terrorist groups. Furthermore, terrorism has a “devastating” socio-economic and psychological impact on young people. However, through the field research, it is clear that although young people are among the primary victims of terrorism, they can also play a key role as the main driver of change in society.