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2015 saw record number of countries hit by suicide bombers

In 2015, 21 countries were witness to suicide bomb attacks – the most countries ever impacted by this form of violence.

This finding by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) comes from their Global Explosive Violence Monitor. This monitor charts media reports of explosive harm suffered by civilians around the world.

AOAV’s data on suicide bombings for 2015 shows that:

  • 21 countries witnessed suicide attacks in 2015. In 1981 just one country was impacted.
  • In 2015, 9,205 civilians were reported killed or injured by suicide attacks, in 253 separate incidents.
  • Including military and other non-civilians, 10,696 people were reported killed or injured around the world last year. This means 86% of all those killed or injured were civilians.
  • Last year, Chad (with 459 civilians killed or wounded), Cameroon (with 464) and France saw their first reported suicide attacks in modern times.
  • The number of civilians injured or killed by suicide attackers in 2015 was 78% more than in 2011, when AOAV started its monitor of explosive weapons.
  • Nigeria was the worst country of all impacted last year, with 2,181 civilians killed or injured (this figure was 14 times the number of Nigerian civilians harmed in 2011).
  • Last year, suicide attacks accounted for 56% of the 16,180 civilians killed or injured by all improvised explosive devices (IEDs) worldwide – including things like car bombs and road-side bombs. In 2011, it was just 38% (5,107 of 13,336).
  • The countries affected were Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria, Yemen, Chad, Cameroon, Pakistan, Lebanon, Kuwait, France, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Libya, Egypt, China, India, Bangladesh, Mali and Tunisia.

Iain Overton, Director of Investigations at Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), said of the findings: ‘It is a terrible truth that despite 2015 seeing some great successes in the battle to stamp out the impact of explosive weapons on civilians, such as clearing Mozambique of land-mines, it also witnessed an unprecedented number of countries blighted by suicide bombers.’

‘The rise of ISIS and other terror organisations poses one of the greatest current threats to global peace and security. Nations need to act swiftly and imaginatively to address this rising tide of violence. Victims’ needs have to be addressed. Supply networks need to be countered. And States need to stand together and condemn the use of explosive weapons in populated areas at all times. To do nothing at a time like this would be a travesty.’


2015 - year of the suicide bomber


Notes for Editors

  • Action On Armed Violence (AOAV) is the leading NGO in the world collating global data on the burden of explosive weapons on civilians. With a focus towards ending the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas, we monitor the use of all forms of explosive weapons. These include manufactured types, such as rockets, artillery shells and aircraft bombs, as well as improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
  • The data for this report after and including 2011 comes from Action on Armed Violence’s Global Monitor on Explosive Weapons – a monitor sponsored by the Norwegian Government. The methodology of our reporting can be viewed here.
  • Before 2011 the data is from the Suicide Attack Database run by the Chicago Project on Suicide & Terrorism at Chicago University.  Their data runs up to September 2015.