On Saturday, April 22nd, 2023, a Malian Air Force (Armée de l’Air du Mali) Mi-24D helicopter (serial TZ-01H) crashed in a residential neighborhood of Bamako, Mali’s capital, after returning from what the Malian army stated was an “operational mission.”
The crash resulted in the death of three military personnel on board, and six persons on the ground were injured.
According to local reports, the helicopter crashed in a densely populated area of the city, causing significant damage to nearby homes and vehicles. Eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud explosion followed by the helicopter plummeting to the ground.
The cause of the crash is not yet known, and an investigation is underway to determine the circumstances leading up to the accident. However, some reports suggest that technical issues may have been the cause.
The crash was confirmed in a statement on the Malian army’s official Facebook page. The “attack helicopter” crashed at 1:10 p.m., “in a residential area of Bamako,” according to the statement.
Unverified videos circulating on social media show heavy smoke rising from a residential neighborhood, one showing a piece of a military aircraft marked “army.”
At around 1:10 pm, an attack helicopter of the Malian armed forces, returning from an operational mission, crashed in a residential area of Bamako,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces said in a statement.
The helicopter was returning from the Mauritanian border where it had intervened against extremists.
It cited “possible victims” without giving a number.
Military aircraft could be seen flying above Bamako in the hours before the crash.
The Malian Air Force has been conducting numerous operations against jihadist groups in the Sahel region over the past few years. The country has been battling with an insurgency that began in 2012, when Tuareg rebels and Islamist militants seized northern Mali.
The Malian government has been working closely with international partners to counter the insurgency, with France and the United States providing military support. The Malian Air Force has played a significant role in these operations, with their Mi-24 helicopters frequently used for surveillance and ground support.
The Malian Air Force operates around 10 Mi-24/35s helicopters in various variants including the Mi-24D, Mi-24P, and the newer Mi-35M models.
This is not the first time a Malian military aircraft has crashed during operations against jihadist groups. In 2020, two French military helicopters collided in Mali during an operation against jihadist militants, resulting in the death of 13 soldiers.
Also, in 2019 a Malian Air Force Chinese-made Harbin Z-9 utility helicopter crashed on January 19 after suffering a technical malfunction. at Kati.
The recent crash of the Mi-24 helicopter is a tragic reminder of the risks involved in military operations, particularly in conflict zones. The loss of life is a devastating blow to the families of the deceased and the Malian Armed Forces.
The Malian government has expressed its condolences to the families of the victims and has pledged to fully investigate the incident. The international community has also expressed its condolences, with the French government offering their support to the Malian authorities.
Mali has been reorganizing and strengthening it’s military forces recently through the acquisition of new and modern weapons.