Manufactured explosive weaponsImprovised Explosive Devices

Explosive violence in May 2015

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.

In May 2015, AOAV recorded a total of 3,696 deaths and injuries from explosive violence worldwide. Civilians made up 76% of this total (2,791). For the third month running, Yemen was the most-affected country. In May, AOAV recorded a serious escalation of explosive violence in to neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

The May update can be downloaded here:

May 2015

Top Story: Yemen crisis worsens as explosive violence spreads into Saudi Arabia

For the third month running Yemen was the country in which AOAV recorded the most civilian casualties from explosive violence. Despite attempts to negotiate humanitarian ceasefires, May still saw almost 1,000 civilian deaths and injuries in the country. The majority (614, or 67%) were caused by air strikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition. The worst attack came on 11 May. Air strikes, targeted at military missile depots on a base just outside the capital city Sana’a, triggered a sequence of massive explosions. Witnesses reported projectiles fell across city suburbs like raid, and that the original site of the air strikes was based just 200-250 meters from homes in the congested residential area.3

Explosive violence spread into neighbouring Saudi Arabia in May. After 30 April AOAV recorded 15 separate attacks in Saudi Arabia, killing and injuring 199 civilians. The vast majority of these incidents (86%) were ground-launched attacks from Yemen-based rebels, who launched rockets and missiles into bordering provinces. However, 73% of civilian casualties in the country came as a result of two separate suicide bombings that hit mosques in the towns of Dammam and Qadeeh. Both bombings were claimed by ISIS.

Aid In Danger: Trócaire in South Sudan

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On 19 May, two mortar rounds hit a United Nations compound in the Upper Nile town of Melut. At least eight civilians  were killed.

The compound appears to have been caught in the crossfire of worsening fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition and allied groups.

The compound was a refuge for around 1,600 people displaced by the violence in the region.

This incident illustrates the wide impact of explosive violence for aid delivery.

Three national staff members of the CARITAS affiliated aid agency Trócaire were among the civilians who sought shelter in the UNMISS compound. The aid workers spent three days under mortar fire before they were evacuated to Juba.

While the humanitarian agency is relieved that none of their staff suffered physical harm from the extensive explosive weapons use around them, the consequences are devastating for aid delivery in South Sudan. The agency suspended the programme that had supported 20,000 people in two towns.

The people of Melut have now even less access to vital food, clean water and shelter because agencies feel the responsibility to protect their staff when conflict parties cannot guarantee aid workers’ safety.

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