ACLED claims to be the “most comprehensive public collection of political violence data for developing states.” It contains information on the specific dates and locations of political violence, the type of event, the groups involved, fatalities and changes in territorial control.
The database contains historic data from 1997, and is updated on a real-time basis.
Over 80,000 incidents had been recorded as of early 2014. The aim of the project is for data to be able to “be used for medium- and long-term analysis and mapping of political violence across developing countries through use of historical data from 1997, as well as informing humanitarian and development work in crisis and conflict-affected contexts through realtime data updates and reports.” The database can be downloaded for free by the public.
The database contains fields such as date, time, event type and the number of fatalities. IED incidents are captured by the database, but the type of weapon used in an incident is not specifically noted.
ACLED uses three sources:
- Local, regional, national and continental news media is reviewed daily;
- NGO reports are used to supplement media reporting;
- Africa-focused news reports and analyses supplement daily media reporting.
Every ACLED incident requires at least one source, and the source is contained in the database. While the link to the source is not included, the publication details are, enabling the user to find the original source. Caitriona Dowd, Senior Researcher at ACLED, told AOAV that “for many events, a combination of sources is reviewed for information on a single event, with the intention of triangulating data from a variety of sources.” The data is collected by individual researchers, and inputted into the database manually.
The ACLED data is not coded by weapon type. The database is extremely comprehensive, but it is difficult to search it by incident caused by IEDs. The only way to do this is to manually search through the ‘notes’ field, and identify individual incidents which have been caused by IEDs. With a database containing over 80,000 incidents, this is time-consuming and inefficient.
This profile is part of AOAV’s investigation into counter-IED (C-IED) actors around the globe. To see the list of all C-IED actors recorded by AOAV, see here. To see those engaged in the Middle East, the Sahel, North Africa or other highly impacted countries please see here, here, here, and here respectively. This research was made possible by funding from the NATO Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE). To read the full report, ‘Addressing the threat posed by IEDs: National, Regional and Global Initiatives’, see here.
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