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Explosive violence in April 2017

In April 2017, Action on Armed Violence recorded 2,888 deaths and injuries caused by explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 62% (1,794) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

This represents a slight decrease in the percentage of civilians killed or injured compared to March 2017. This is likely due to the rise in explosive violence targeting other armed actors, such as state militaries and police.

At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 19 countries last month. The five worst impacted countries were Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Somalia and Pakistan, according to civilian casualties from explosive violence.

Whilst four of these countries are common amongst the worst impacted, Egypt’s place amongst the worst impacted countries is less frequent. AOAV recorded 190 deaths and injuries in Egypt last month, including 171 civilians. The majority of these casualties occurred in just two incidents, which saw 44 killed and over 100 injured, when ISIS carried out two bomb attacks on Palm Sunday.

On the other hand, Afghanistan is noticeably absent from the worst five impacted countries. The majority of those killed and injured by explosive violence in Afghanistan in April were armed actors and security personnel. Over 150 soldiers were killed when Taliban fighters and suicide bombers attacked an army base in Mazar-i-Sharif. Another 94 armed actors were killed when the United States dropped the MOAB in Afghanistan, targeting ISIS militants – for more insight into the use of the MOAB bomb, please see here.

In Syria, the majority (66%) of civilian casualties from explosive violence were again caused by air-launched explosives with a further quarter were caused by IEDs. A bomb attack on a crowded bus convoy killed 126, mostly refugees, including 60 children.

Whereas Iraq, where most deaths and injuries are usually caused by IEDs, saw more casualties from ground-launched explosives in April, accounting for 45% of civilian deaths and injuries. Mortars caused more casualties than any other weapon type in Iraq last month.

When explosive violence was perpetrated in populated areas in April, 85% of the casualties were civilians. AOAV strongly condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area affects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.

To see the key findings from AOAV’s annual Explosive Violence Monitor report, ‘Explosive Truths’, please see here.