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Explosive violence in March 2014

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) records incidents of explosive violence as they occur around the world. Since 1 October 2010 AOAV has used English-language media sources to capture information on attacks, including on the number of casualties and the weapon type used.

This month there were almost 2,000 casualties of explosive violence (people killed and injured). Civilians made up 74% of all the people who were recorded killed or injured around the world by explosive weapons.


Action on Armed Violence is a founding-member of the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), which calls for immediate action to prevent human suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Explosive weapons project blast and fragmentation effects around a point of detonation. The use of such weapons in populated areas causes a predictable and preventable pattern of harm for civilians. AOAV data shows that when explosive weapons are used in populated areas, civilians are the overwhelming majority of casualties. As such, AOAV calls on all users of explosive weapons to refrain from using them in populated areas.

AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor

Methodology: Information is gathered from English-language news sources on incidents of explosive violence with at least one reported casualty. AOAV uses an RSS reader to scan Google news for key terms which relate to explosive weapon use. Information is extracted on: the date, time, and location of the incident; the number and status of people killed and injured; the weapon type; the reported user and target; the detonation method and whether displacement or damage to the location was reported. AOAV does not attempt to comprehensively capture all incidents of explosive violence around the world, instead this data in intended to serve as a useful indicator of the scale and pattern of harm. Direct casualties are just one aspect of the impact of explosive weapons in populated areas. Damage to civilian infrastructure, psychological and socio-economic impacts on individuals and communities, and the danger of UXO are seldom reported in news sources.

For the latest analysis and research of developments in explosive violence go to:

Manufactured Explosive Weapons

IEDs and Suicide Bombings


[1] Actors are defined as civilians if they are not identifiable in reports either as armed actors or security personnel.

[2] The number of casualties from explosive violence in Syria is significantly under-reported, owing to the nature of news-source reporting from the conflict. Very few incidents in Syria were reported with injuries (only 19% as opposed to 83% in Iraq). Both Iraq and Syria had a very similar number of civilian fatalities reported in January.

[3] A further 32 civilian casualties were caused either in attacks that involved a combination of launch methods, or by landmines (which are separated for analysis because it is often unclear whether attacks reported to involve ‘mines’ in fact were caused by roadside improvised devices).

[4] Incidents are designated as occurring in populated areas if: a) It is stated in the source (e.g. a busy street, a crowded market etc); b) If an incident occurs in or near a pre-defined location which is likely to contain concentrations of civilians: Commercial premises, Entertainment venues, Hospitals, Hotels, Encampments (IDPs, Refugees, Nomads) , Markets, Places of worship, Police stations, Public gatherings, Public buildings, Public transport, Schools, Town centres, Urban residential neighbourhoods, Villages/ compounds. Other locations recorded include: Agricultural area, Armed Base, Road, and Transport-related infrastructure. Incidents which occurred in these locations are recorded as ‘Populated area’ if details of the media report state that they were located in or next to any of the locations classified as likely to be populated. If there is insufficient or unclear information, then it is recorded as ‘Unclear’, and combined with the ‘Not reported as populated area’ category for analysis.

[5] “51 killed in car bombs in Nigeria, Red Cross says,” The Associated Press, posted in Fox news, 2 March 2014, (accessed 9 April 2014).

[6] “UN condemns grenade attack on Central African Republic funeral that killed 9 people,” 29 March 2014, The Associated Press, posted by Fox News, (accessed 9 April 2014).