Sunday, May 15th 2016, saw a double suicide bombing in Yemen. The attacks took place in a town along the south coast of the Hadhramaut region. In total, 47 people were killed and at least 51 injured in a town only recently recaptured from al-Qaeda.
The first attack targeted police recruits lining up outside a police centre in Mukalla. The suicide bomber detonated his vest as he joined the line of recruits. The blast killed at least 41 and injured a further 50.
The second bomber is thought to have targeted the security chief of the city, General Mubarak al-Oubthani, as he headed towards another district. The attack killed 6 of his security and left him with injuries.
Both bombings were claimed by ISIS, and came after another attack in Mukalla earlier in the week. An attack last Thursday killed 15 soldiers.
Violence has been prolific throughout Yemen since the civil war began in March 2015. The instability has left the region vulnerable to further violence from insurgent groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda.
In 2015, AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor recorded 17 incidents of explosive violence perpetrated by ISIS, which killed 757 civilians. All explosive violence by ISIS was perpetrated using IEDs. Of these IED attacks, at least six were suicide bombs, which were responsible for 71% of all civilian deaths and injuries from ISIS IED attacks.
Last year, Yemen was the second worst affected country from explosive violence – 6,286 civilian deaths and injuries were recorded. The only country worse affected was Syria.
Though the attacks recorded on Sunday reflect non-state violence in Yemen, in 2015 the main perpetrators of explosive violence in Yemen, were state actors. The Saudi-led coalition alone was responsible for 3,958 civilian deaths and injuries – 63% of all civilian deaths and injuries in Yemen in 2015 from explosive violence.
However, it remains evident that IEDs, especially suicide bombings, are extremely lethal and are seeing wider and wider use. AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor 2015 found that of all IED attacks, the ones that posed the most danger were suicide attacks.
AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and calls upon all groups to reject the deliberate targeting of civilians. States must urgently address the threat of suicide bombings and other forms of IED attacks. Reports by AOAV show the increasing use and harm of suicide bombings around the world. It is a growing reality that highlights the need for urgent preventative measures that States should establish – such as stockpile controls – to limit groups’ ability to produce these and other IEDs.
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